When her books arrive they are read almost immediately!
The White House Chef Mystery Series
1. If you’re a regular reader of the White House Chef mystery series, you already know that the First Family is required to cover all expenses for personal meals, but that fact still amazes me and I feel the need to include it here. State dinners and official events are covered by the White House budget, but the family must cover its own expenses when it comes to food. And, because there are extra steps and higher costs involved in procuring ingredients, those bills can be pretty high.
2. The White House doesn’t respond well to direct questions about the residence. Before I even began writing the first book, State of the Onion, I called the White House to ask some questions about staff hours, kitchen layout, colors on the floor and walls, etc. I was looking for details not usually found in books. This would have been in 2006, I think. They were uneasy, but asked me to fax them a list of questions. I did. Never heard back. I followed up. Still never heard back.
3. Later, in 2010 or so, I was able to give a couple of books to a friend who knew a friend who was related to a White House kitchen staff member. I’d hoped the staff member would either read the books, or pass them to someone else in the kitchen – or … dreaming now… the First Lady – who would enjoy them and say something positive in the media. Nope. The lesson here: The White House is a hard nut to crack. (Unless you’re racing past the Secret Service that is… 🙂
4. Although Hollywood loves the idea of a White House Chef solving mysteries, the Powers That Be don’t love it enough.
5. Ollie has a mind of her own. I have often set her up to walk into a trap, or to do something sketchy, and she refuses. Not kidding. She puts her foot down and says “No.” It isn’t until I revise, change the circumstances, increase her motivation, or reset the stage that she complies.
6. Speaking of Ollie’s strong-mindedness, whenever I’m uncomfortable or awkward (usually social situations where I know no one) I pretend I’m Ollie. Asking myself “What Would Ollie Do?” helps me banish my nervousness.
7. My friends tell me they see me in Ollie’s role when they’re reading the books. I see America Ferrera.
8. I’ve had a couple of different “ghost chefs” assist me by coming up with the fabulous recipes for the books. My favorites include the stuffed cherry tomatoes, the bacon-wrapped green beans, the brownie bites, the cucumber slices with pine nuts (I substitute goat cheese for feta), and the hummus.
9. There are a couple of “oops” moments in the stories. A misnamed monument, a mis-identified landmark, a cell phone that mysteriously reappeared—and more. I appreciate readers letting me know when they spot these mistakes, and I generally thank the first to let me know by sending him or her a signed copy of a book from my other series. Unfortunately, I’m unable to do so for every sharp-eyed reader, but please know that I’m delighted that you care enough to point these things out.
10. I would LOVE a personal tour of the White House. They don’t have to feed me (though I wouldn’t turn down a dinner invitation), just let me roam a little. Secret Service can accompany me if that makes them feel better. All I want is to explore every inch of the building, from the bottom-est basement to the snipers on the roof. And take pictures – lots of pictures – to refer to as I write the next book. Can you imagine how much fun that would be?
About Julie Hyzy
Julie Hyzy is the New York Times bestselling author of the White House Chef Mysteries and the Manor House Mysteries. She’s won the Anthony, Barry, Derringer, and Lovey Awards for her novels and short stories. Her first Manor House Mystery, Grace Under Pressure, earned a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly. Find out more about Julie Hyzy and her books on her webpage here.
All the President’s Menus
(A White House Chef Mystery)
8th in Series
Setting: Washington D.C.
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (January 6, 2015)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
E-Book ASIN: B00KWFZ74M
It’s an old adage that too many cooks spoil the broth. But when a tour of the White House kitchen by a group of foreign chefs ends in murder, it’s Olivia Paras who finds herself in the soup…
Due to a government sequester, entertaining at the White House has been severely curtailed. So executive chef Olivia Paras is delighted to hear that plans are still on to welcome a presidential candidate from the country of Saardisca—the first woman to run for office—and four of that nation’s top chefs.
But while leading the chefs on a kitchen tour, pastry chef Marcel passes out suddenly—and later claims he was drugged. When one of the visiting chefs collapses and dies, it’s clear someone has infiltrated the White House with ill intent. Could it be an anti-Saardiscan zealot? Is the candidate a target? Are the foreign chefs keeping more than their recipes a secret? Once again, Olivia must make sleuthing the special of the day…
I absolutely devoured this book!
We all learned about the word sequester not too long ago so it is perfect that Julie Hyzy takes us inside the White House to see how it effects Ollie’s kitchen. Most events were cancelled but their commitment to Saardisca could not be delayed or cancelled. Soon Ollie’s kitchen is boiling over with visiting chefs from there and trying to plan a dinner for woman trying to become its President. Things do not go smoothly as pastry chef Marcel is out of commission and one of the visiting chefs dies. Ollie can’t understand a word of Saardiscan but she knows that is the key to catching the killer and getting her kitchen back to normal.
This story picks up with Ollie and Gav settling into married life and him returning to work at The White House. They also have an opportunity presented to them that may be too good to refuse.
I love the entire cast of characters in this series! Ollie has grown comfortable in her position as executive chef but she still jumps when Chief Usher, Peter Sergeant, shows up in her kitchen. His arrival usually means trouble for her and her staff. Gav is finally back to work. Virgil is missing from the kitchen, but an angry Saardiscan chef takes his place. In fact all the Saardiscan visitors are interesting, each in a different way. Saardisca is a fictional country but it seems to be on the verge of some big changes especially if a woman is elected to be their new President.
I also enjoyed that we visited Blair House on our trip to Washington D.C. We can only see pictures of the extraordinary place so many dignitaries stay. Hyzy brings it to life for all of us from the kitchen to the myriad of stairways and hallways that connect all the beautiful rooms.
This is one of the best cozy mystery series available today. I have loved each and every story and am always anxious for the arrival of the next book. It will be the first book I read in 2016!!!
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”