Who would think that a simple attempt to get married would take Ollie Paras to the scene of multiple murders? Ollie, White House executive chef, has "A certain knack for stumbling into trouble." And, after some time away on a personal investigation in Fonduing Fathers, Ollie's back at work, right in the midst of all the excitement in the White House in Home of the Braised.
Ollie and her Secret Service boyfriend, Gav, just want a quiet, quick wedding. How did they know all the justices of the peace had full schedules? But, when they tried to talk to a friend of Gav's about performing the wedding, they find him dead, murdered along with four other men. The agents that show up immediately to deal with it aren't very happy to find Gav and Ollie at the crime scene. They are both smart enough to keep a secret, but when Gav disappears for a few days, it puts Ollie off her game. And, when someone tries to kill Ollie, they both know it isn't an accident.
It's just what Ollie doesn't need, another thing to worry about. Between failed wedding plans, a murder attempt, and a state dinner celebrating the peace talks between the U.S. and Durasi, she has her hands full. Then, the actual murder of a high-ranking official puts everyone on alert, including Ollie. Once again, while juggling multiple plates, Ollie's right in the middle of the action.
Time and again, Julie Hyzy manages to add excitement to Ollie Paras' work, keeping the series fresh. Ollie is a wonderful amateur sleuth. She's lucky to have found a Secret Service agent who appreciates her awareness and abilities. But, as much as I like Ollie, Gav, and Ollie's kitchen staff, I'm enchanted by Josh, the President's son. Ollie is right to recognize some of her traits in the young boy. He's as passionate about cooking as she is, and the scenes with Josh in the kitchen and discussing china for the state dinner are some of my favorite ones. But, Josh is also clever, even at his age. Once before, he and Ollie were partners in crime. This time, they have to team up to avoid a major disaster.
Whether you read the White House Chef mysteries for the action, the behind-the-scenes look at the White House, Ollie Paras, or the relationships between the characters, all those ingredients are stirred together in Julie Hyzy's latest mystery serving. And, Hyzy's final course is sweet enough to bring tears in Home of the Braised.
Julie Hyzy's website is www.juliehyzy.com
Home of the Braised by Julie Hyzy. Berkley Prime Crime. 2014. ISBN 9780425262382 (paperback), 293p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.