Genre: cozy mystery with recipes for a complete presidential menu!
With the pressure of an upcoming state dinner that could make or break the president's foreign policy, White House executive chef Olivia Paras has precious little time to focus on her wedding plans—or to catch a murderer…
Tensions are running high as the White House staff adjusts to a new chief usher and prepares for a high-stakes state dinner, where everything must be perfect. But as the date for the event approaches, things go disastrously wrong when the secretary of defense is found dead in his home, seemingly killed during a break-in.
At the same time Olivia's fiancé, Gav, is looking into the mysterious murder of an old friend. Is there a connection? Despite an increase in security following the secretary's death, Ollie learns the president is in imminent danger at the dinner and must do everything in her power to get to him—before it's too late…
Ollie and Gav planned to be married within three days of the proposal, as that is how long it would take to get the marriage license. Unfortunately, the judge has an 8 week waiting period, as he is fully booked. And now Gav is getting spooked, as his first two fiancées died in accidents. How can he keep Ollie safe? So when he gets a call from an old collegue and friend who needs his help, and remembers that that friend became a minister, he thinks to solve to problems at once. First, help his friend, and two, get married quickly after all.
But when Ollie and Gav arrive at his friends’ neighbourhood, it does not look promising at all. Nor does the strange homeless person who tries to make them leave. When they find his friend and some other men murdered, only to be found at the crime scene by a Secret Service team in Hazmat clothing, trouble only just begins. The team leader is certainly not a friend of Gav, and he gives both him and Ollie a very hard time. Wanting to know if one of the victims talked before he died, but they were only inside for a minute. And they were all dead, due to a poisonous gas. How did the team know they would need Hazmat gear when they showed up so soon anyway?
In the meantime, Ollie is very busy at the White House. The President is hosting a state dinner for peace talks with the Durasi in a week, and Ollie and her team need to come up with a menu fast. The president’s personal chef, Virgil, is still a pain in their backsides in the kitchen and Ollie hopes to make him more a part of the team if she asks him to help them with this state dinner. But Virgil just gets more arrogant and ignores Ollie’s commands. Ruining some of their dishes with his own twists for the tasting.
The security in the White House gets extra help from the mercenary’s from Kalto, who are fighting in Durasi with the normal troops. But now that there are peace talks, their presence there is not longer necessary, and the government needs to find new jobs for them to honor their contract for the next two year. And so they will provide extra security for the staff, and especially for Ollie, who really needs it again after someone tried to kill her in the subway station.
Peter Sargeant is doing a good job as the new Chief Usher, and he and Ollie work well together. Of course Virgil wanted his old friend to keep the job, but that man was not cut out for it at all. And if Virgil is not careful, Ollie will fire him, after all, she is the executive chef. And this time, Peter will back her up.
This plot was amazing, and very evil, so I am glad that Ollie figured it all out, and that Josh was there to help her. Ollie was in danger again a few times, but somehow, she always manages to safe herself or the good guys pop in just in time. Which is a good thing of course, as I want many more White House Chef Mysteries to read.
Tom, Ollie’s ex-boyfriend and head of the White House Secret Service agents, was involved again, and this time he stood behind Gav and Ollie, in finding out who to trust and who not in this very convoluted plot. I am starting to like him a bit more. After all, Ollie never seeks out danger or complots on her own, she just walks right into it.
Ollie was at times very happy to be marrying Gav, and then disappointed when things did not work out as they wanted to. But her mother and grandmother, and her neighbour Mrs Wentworth are very happy for her, and want to be there. Of course I instantly saw through the plotting Bucky and Cyan did behind Ollie’s back and thought it fun.
Still, Ollie and Gav have not yet figured out where they will live and what to do with the furniture and such, which should be important decisions to make. And why doesn’t he stay the night a bit more often? Just get up a bit earlier, the drive will be the same.
I loved the ending, I did not see all if it coming, but a lot if it. Happy Sigh upon closing the book.
© 2014 Reviews by Aurian