I like Julie Hyzy's White House chef series, and so liked this treat, gifted to me by someone wonderful. I read it in almost one fell swoop, on my kindle, and it relieved stress and made me smile. I do get just a tiny bit tired of the punny titles, but Hyzy is not alone in that -- I suspect it of being a conspiracy of publishers trying to make us smile when all they really elicit is a bit of ruefulness. (For a site with a list of some punny titles in culinary mysteries, try here. The writer likes Tamar Meyers' puns the best I think.)
In any case, the pun issue is probably just a quibble. The mystery was fun, the series characters getting on with their lives, and all in all I enjoyed it. Among the things I liked best is, I missed the main mystery. I was fooled by red herrings (yep, a foodie joke) and I like that. It may have been because I read at such a clip but it is more likely it is because Hyzy did well this time out. I also like the ways [POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT BUT I AM NOT SURE ABOUT THAT] bipartisanship gets turned on its ear -- we all wish for reasonable facsimiles of intelligence and logic and caring rather than politics as usual -- in which I trade this good for that good and we all end up with. . . . well, you get my drift. In any case, I do think the cliche of keeping your friends close and your enemies closer is a bit tired, but I also think unexpected allies are always useful. It helps keep the vote counters off balance, and it also often leads to creative solutions. Hmmm. This is a theme that in various eays runs through this installment in the series of White House chef meets murderers and can;t control her urge to pursue justice.
So, in this mystery it is Ollie, the chef, and the sometimes annoying (dare I say all too often) chief of protocol as well as others who stand in for this theme. Their pairing allows for a lot of snideness, which I found entertaining. Also, the romance angle is going along without being too annoying in this one; Ollie is trying to be discrete, but it seems as though, if you trust this series, the West Wing might be renamed the "no gossip not fit to share" and people are adroit at guessing.
One thing that always eventually gets to me in series with amateur detective-y types is how often they end up involved in murders. Really, it gets a bit unbelievable. Hyzy does a good job using that to add to the flavor of the series, in a slightly tongue in cheek way. I like that. Otherwise, I would begin to feel like my suspension of disbelief, and indeed I do suspend it, is being stretched just a tad too far.
One silly note: there is a kitchen (pro kitchen) gadget involved, and I like that. . . though not its use.
Wanna try Hyzy's blog? Click here.