Genre: cozy mystery with recipes
White House chef Olivia Paras and her arch nemesis, White House Sensitivity Director Peter Everett Sargeant, must work together to solve the double murder of one of the First Lady's assistants and the Chief of Staff-before they become the next victims of a merciless assassin with a secret agenda.
The new First Lady, Mrs. Hyden, wants to throw a lavish birthday party for Secretary of State Gerald Quinones. It can’t be held in the White House, and the new assistant, Patty Woodruff, wants Olivia Paras, the Executive Chef, and Peter Everett Sargeant, the Sensitivity Director, to check out the possible venues personally. As Olivia and Peter really dislike each other, that it is not fun for them to work together. But what the First Lady wants, the First Lady gets.
While walking to the fourth and last possible venue, Lexington Place, which is also the most likely venue, they run into Sargeant’s cousin Milton. Sargeant clearly doesn’t like the man, but Ollie tries to be nice to him. When they arrive at the Lexington a bit later, they are in for a nasty surprise, when Patty, the assistant who was supposed to be waiting for them inside, is nowhere to be found. Until Ollie opens a closed tilt-skillet in the kitchen …
And it is not the only body in there either; the police finds another body, that of the Chief of Staff. It is not the first body Ollie has found, but it certainly does not make it any easier on her. And Peter Sargeant is completely falling apart.
Back at the White House kitchen, Bucky and Cyan understand Ollie, and why she can’t talk about what happened, but her nemesis Virgil is giving her a hard time. He really keeps pestering Ollie as he wants to be executive chef, undermining her orders whenever he can.
That night, leaving for home, Ollie feels very comfortable when a man keeps talking to her and following her to the metro. Why is her cellphone almost empty right now, when she would have called for help? Stepping into the metro she still feels followed, something is just not right. And what is with the old man who falls asleep? Should she wake him up and help him get to his destination? A skirmish follows with the old man who is confused and unfriendly, and the other stranger who wants to know who she is and stuff. When Ollie finally calls the police to help with the confused old man, he runs off.
As it happens, the old man has been missing all day, and is Secretary of State Gerald Quinones father-in-law. The Quinones are very happy that Ollie has found him. As her ex-boyfriend Secret Service Agent Tom MacKenzie shows up and finally takes her home, Ollie is exhausted. What a day. And Tom is exasperated with her, again, which is one of the reasons they broke up, he just doesn’t trust her, and is tired of her always getting involved in his cases. Luckily, Ollie’s new boyfriend Gavin understands her better, and he is waiting for her at her place when Tom drops her off. She will have Secret Service escort service from now on, until they find out who did it.
The next day is a busy one for Ollie and her kitchen staff, and is about to get even more busy. With Patty, the assistant, murdered, it is expected of Ollie and Peter Sargeant to start organise the party until a new assistant can take over. So they will have to keep working together. Of course, the Lexington place is now off the list for good, and they will have to start working with the new venue asap. To help them, one of the social aides will be assigned to them. As it so happens, it is a man Peter thoroughly despises, and after a little time in his company, Ollie has to agree with him. The man just doesn’t shut up at all, and thinks very highly of himself, which is totally undeserved as he walks away from problems instead of solving them.
Peter’s cousin Milton has deduced that they are the ones who found the bodies, and he really, really wants to get a job at the White House themselves. So if they don’t help him, he will tell the press what he knows … and he also has a line on the killer and will investigate for them. Peter doesn’t like it, but Ollie doesn’t really believe him but tries to stay friendly. She doesn’t need new headlines in the press!
Then Sargeant gets into trouble when someone has messed with his computer and made it look like he crossed a very important couple of the guest list. Ollie should be rejoicing in this, Sargeant never lets an opportunity go by to blacken her name and get her in trouble, but she just can’t help herself. She will investigate this matter and find out who is messing with Peter Sargeant.
Two intriguing mysteries for Ollie to solve this time, and she gets in some really dangerous situations as well. I have to admit, I did have my suspicions about both of those cases, but to find out the why and how was very interesting and exiting.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself reading this book, and it kept me up way past my bedtime. I like how Ollie’s personal life gets attention throughout the story. Gavin will have to step up to the plate and make a commitment here, or Ollie will have to end it all. She deserves more, and I agree with that.
I hope that chef Virgil is slowly learning his lesson now, and will get his act together and work with Ollie instead of against her. And if not, I hope she shows him the way out. I don’t trust him one little bit, the gloryhound.
I will read the next book, Fonduing Fathers, soon as the new one is almost there as well. I have fallen in love more with each new book, and do recommend it to everyone who loves cozy mysteries. Especially if you like recipes in your books.
© 2013 Reviews by Aurian