Nothing like a good palate cleanser after a tough read! Julie Hyzy’s White House chief chef, Olivia Paras, does that for me every time. The mysteries are entertaining, the behind-the-scenes peeks at how 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue runs are interesting, and the characters are engaging. This is definitely cozy, but also a good mystery.
When visiting chefs who are representatives of an extremely repressed foreign country are dumped on Olivia’s plate just as her staff is cut back, she finds herself battling on multiple fronts. The chefs come from a male-dominated society and are not happy having a woman in charge. When her pastry chef collapses and lands in the hospital, is discharged, returns to work, and collapses again while in the company of the visitors, alarm bells start going off. She has a state dinner to prepare to honor the female candidate for the chefs’ home country, a pastry chef out with a concussion, suspicious behavior on the part of the chefs, and then one of the visiting chefs dies. Olivia knows if she can’t figure out the who, what, and whys cluttering her kitchen, her goose will truly be cooked.
Not every book has to be life-altering; sometimes it’s all right to just be entertained and All the President’s Menus does exactly that.