Julie Hyzy’s Mystery Creates a Play on Food
When I first met Ms. Hyzy, I was skeptical about her new cozy mystery series. Another amateur sleuth who is a cook? Seriously? Are we not already inundated with generic chefs and specialty cooks who get involved in murder? There is only so much a kitchen person can do before history repeats itself. Diane Mott Davidson started the craze over twenty years ago. But that is for another post.
But this mystery series has a twist that makes it stand out from the rest. It is not just another generic mystery. Another component thrown in the mix is the character that is call the workings of the White House. Not only do you get lost in the kitchen scenes, become intimate with the strong, close knit characters of Olivia, Cyan and Bucky, but you also get to meet other positions in the staff of the most famous house in the United States.
Peter Sergeant is the annoying but sometimes likable Sensitivity Director. Tom and Gav are Secret Service toughies to be drooled over. There is the quick spotlight thrown onto the ushers and other “rich people” staff and a wonderful, lovable, First Kid (Josh), who is growing and developing in front of our eyes, not just a background character.
The tension between the characters is believable. The scenes are well researched, and only someone who lives in the District will catch the made up areas, or the missteps.
The one imaginative question that cannot be answered is how real the presidential protocols, rules and other ideas are. Since a lot of that stuff is secretive, we cannot call Ms. Hazy out on using certain presidential liberties. But they are well written and interesting, so I don’t give a darn.
The mystery itself isn’t too bad either. I try to figure out the whodunit before the author tells me. I can guess about half of them just in time, and usually it’s my second guess that is right. She definitely tries her hand at red herrings (which really work), and does not make anything too obvious, even how some of the characters feel about each other!
The titles are foodie plays on presidential phrases, such as ‘Eggsecutive Orders’ and ‘State of the Union’. Kind of cute, interesting, and memorable, aren’t they?
And the recipes are different. they are not just some random recipes like in other cozy mysteries staring cooks. They are all picked to compose a complete fancy dinner! Talk about being thoughtful in the food to share with us.
White House Chef Mysteries:
- State of the Onion – 2008
- Hail to the Chef – 2008
- Eggsecutive Orders – 2010
- Buffalo West Wing – 2011
- Affairs of Steak – 2012
- Fonduing Fathers – 2012
- Home of the Braised – 2014
- All the President’s Menus – 2015
You can find all Julie Hyzy’s books on Amazon, at Barnes and Noble, and your local independent book sellers. To find out more about this gracious lady (I know, because I have met her), visit her website, www.juliehyzy.com.
And congrats on your latest book, which came out today, January 6th, 2015. I can’t wait to grab one myself!