Saturday, April 22, 2017

The White House Chef mystery series

This will be a short post about one of my favorite series.  Julie Hyzy started the 'White House Chef' Mysteries in 2008 with State of the Onion and ended in 2016 with Foreign Eclairs.  The seven other titles include: Home of the Braised; Affairs of Steak; All the President’s Menus; Buffalo West Wing; Hail to the Chef; Eggsecutive Orders: and Fonduing Fathers.  Olivia Paras, Head Chef in the White House kitchen, was in charge of all things food related from daily meals for the First Family to assisting in planning large scale events.  Checking dietary restrictions, allergies, and protocol for how and what to serve visiting dignitaries was crucial.  Making the Secret Service a little crazy was an added benefit of her job. Ollie had a knack of finding herself in the middle of espionage, sabotage and mayhem.  The books also included a little romance and a few recipes.

Moving on to the reason for this post, Ollie Paras and the White House Chef Mysteries, as written by Julie Hyzy, have come to last meal.  The author had been hired to write the series, but did not own the concept or copyright.    When the company that owns the series ran into financial problems, the problems quickly trickled down to the level of delayed payments to the author.  ReadJulie Hyzy’s blog to understand how little she was being paid for each book purchased.  If Work-for-Hire is a common publishing practice, I wonder how anyone can afford to write.  I understand that the company is spending money to produce and promote the books, assuming the risk of poor sales, and, generally, not making a fortune on the great majority of books published.  It is not my intention to question the convoluted contracts between authors and publishers, I am just expressing my disappointment that the Ollie Paras I have known and enjoyed may not be seen again.  Yes, a different author could be offered a similar Work-for-Hire agreement, but the pairing of Ollie and Julie was a good one.

"All Good Things..." , author Julie Hyzy's blog post about the end of her 'White House Chef' series.

Author Julie Hyzy's website listing her books including her other mystery series, 'Manor House mysteries.' 

All the President's Menus by Julie Hyzy is available to borrow as an ebook from eLibraryNJ.

- S. Bakos

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