Julie Hyzy won the Anthony and Barry Awards for Best Paperback for her first White House Chef mystery, State of the Onion, but the third book in the series, Eggsecutive Orders, is also the best. That's no "eggsaggeration."
White House Executive Chef Ollie Paras should be on top of the world. It's time for her staff to get ready for the Easter celebration, the dinner and the Easter Egg Roll, and her mother and grandmother are finally coming to visit. She should be anticipating her family's visit to the White House, and the fun of Easter. Instead, on the morning her family is due to arrive, she's escorted to the White House by the Secret Service, and her entire kitchen staff is suspended from their duties. It's only then that she learns a guest died at dinner the night before. Until the cause of death can be determined, the food, and the staff, is suspect.
Her mother and nana came to visit Ollie, and she could look at the suspension as the perfect vacation time. But, she feels responsible for her staff and the kitchen, and she has a hard time sitting on her hands. But, it's not just her job and her staff that is threatened. Her boyfriend's job on the Presidential Protection Detail is also threatened, and Tom has been warned to keep an eye on Ollie, and prevent her from interfering in the investigation. But, when she becomes a target for a newspaper columnist, and her mother shows an interest in a man who is connected to the dead White House guest, it's just too much for Ollie. Somehow, she has to get back into the kitchen, and find a killer.
Although I enjoyed both of the previous books, and Ollie's work in the kitchen, it was refreshing to see her out of her element. By forcing Ollie to stay home, Hyzy added another element to Ollie's life. We met her family, enjoyed a little bit of Washington as she showed them around, and learned more about the personal life of Bucky, the irascible chef. There's also the fascinating "locked White House" mystery. Not too many people would have had access to the dead guest. Top it off with a climax at the annual Easter Egg Roll, and Eggsecutive Orders is another "eggcellent" mystery feast served up by Julie Hyzy.
Julie Hyzy's website is www.juliehyzy.com. She's also one of the authors at Mystery Lovers Kitchen.
Eggsecutive Orders by Julie Hyzy. Berkley Prime Crime, ©2010. ISBN 9780425232033 (paperback), 352p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I bought this book.