The main reason why I am giving this four stars is that it seems Chien is dabbling with a love triangle or possibly rectangle now and I want no part of it. I like the core couple of Lana and Adam and I hate it that a lot of cozy mystery's have now started to do this. I was glad that the "Liz Talbot Mystery" books moved away from that after the first couple of books. Hopefully "A Noodle Shop Mystery" does as well.
"Murder Lo Mein" finds Lana as the manager of her family's restaurant. She is wondering if her mother really will live things up to her, but so far so good. Her family's restaurant and others are now entering the annual Cleveland’s Best Noodle competition. Lana's family and others feel like they were cheated out of winning last year and that one of the judges was possibly fixing things so that the former contestant won. When one of the judges is found strangled, all eyes turn to who could have done it and why. Lana of course goes investigating and gets warned off by her boyfriend, Detective Adam Trudeau. Making matters a bit more complicated is that a new face has appeared in the plaza and he appears focused on asking out Lana. With Lana wondering where she and Adam's relationship is going, she starts to wonder what if while also trying to track down a murderer.
Lana is a good character and I keep rooting for her. She's more comfortable in going around and questioning people in this one and is still managing her family's restaurant. She and her sister have come to a truce of sorts so it appears that is working out well now too. She is left wondering about Adam though since he barely seems to have time for her these days.
I love the continuing development of Lana’s best friend and roommate Megan though I wish she get a love interest too. It was also nice to see some backstory into Adam and why he was previously so tight lipped about his past.
I think this was a solid installment and shows the cozy mystery genre in a good light. There's not any swearing (that I can recall) and there seems to be a subtle fade to black when you can imagine that a love scene may have occurred.