Monday, October 6, 2008

Hail to the Chef-Julie Hyzy

Hail to the Chef
Julie Hyzy
Berkley, Dec 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425224991

Olivia “Ollie” Paras believes she has the best job in America as the executive chef at the White House. She is on very good terms with the First lady Mrs. Campbell, who wants to match her up with her nephew Sean; he has expressed an interest in her. When he comes into the kitchen, she allows him to use the computer after he peels some shrimp. He tells her he is busy right now and does not want to give her false hope. She later learns he committed suicide but based on the note he left behind he was anything bur depressed.

An inert incendiary device is found on the premises of the White House; forcing everyone to attend a class on security. After getting something from a storage closet, Ollie returns it only to notice a package that was not there on her first trip. When she opens it she realizes it is a bomb, which leads to the evacuation of the White House. Before the holiday season is over, Ollie will find herself choosing between her instincts and being dubbed a fool as she begins to put together the puzzle of what is going on inside the White House.

HAIL TO THE CHEF is aptly titled as Ollie saves lives with her keen instincts and sharp eyes. However what makes this amateur sleuth a gourmand’s delight is the deep look at those employed at the White House who are not elected officials or political hacks. There are several mysteries in this fine seven course meal including Ollie’s belief that Sean was murdered. Fans will enjoy Ollie in the middle of the investigations yet making delicious repasts for events and daily living of the occupants. Jule Hyzy balances her meal ticket quite nicely between the glimpses at the working class inside the White House with an engaging chef’s cozy.

Harriet Klausner