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The Royal Wulff Murders    by Keith McCafferty order for
Royal Wulff Murders
by Keith McCafferty
Order:  USA  Can
Viking, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Like mysteries? Like trout fishing even more? Get yourself a copy of The Royal Wulff Murders, sit yourself down in your favorite armchair, feet up on a hassock, light your pipe and maybe open a can of brew and enjoy a book written just for you The Royal Wulff Murders by Keith McCafferty. (Ladies, make that a glass of red.)

A dead body of a young man is found floating in the Madison, the 'king of Montana fishing rivers'. There's a Royal Wulff fly stuck through his lip and a stick jammed in one eye. Sheriff Martha Ettinger assumes foul play but must be sure because fly fishing is a draw for tourist money flowing into the town's businesses. She knows enough not to attack the coffers of the citizens.

Enter 'small-beat private detective' Sean Stranahan. He doesn't like the death being called an accident. Sean is addicted to fly fishing and his philosophy is 'any man who has a fly rod, a quarter tank of gas and four decent tires was never too far from home.' While getting some fishing in, he manages to engage the help of a few locals to investigate what he believes is murder. Sean has a fling with a mysterious woman who has a strange task for him she hires him and then moves on.

The plot continues with all sorts of diversions that tickle the imagination. The mystery is solved, of course, but I can't fail to mention the glorious prose that describes the art of fly fishing, the river at full spate, the possible fate of trout, and the country surrounding both sides of the Madison.

The whirling disease that has affected so many trout streams and how it is spread is all new to me. I can empathize with fishermen and nature lovers alike who abhor what it is doing to what should be natural and beautiful. Author McCafferty takes advantage of his wonderful debut novel to inform us of those who may not be too worried about the future of fly fishing. The Royal Wulff Murders is a very good read.

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