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An award-winning editor for Field & Stream magazine, Keith McCafferty presents his debut novel, The Royal Wulff Murders. A local fisherman lands more than he bargained for when he pulls a dead body out of Montana’s Madison River. Sheriff Martha Ettinger takes on the case and soon comes into the company of reclusive artist, Montana newcomer, and ex-PI Sean Stranahan. After teaming up to investigate, Martha and Sean soon uncover evidence that the murder has ties to one of the state’s biggest industries: fly fishing.
This is first book of a Montana-based mystery series led by Sheriff Martha Ettinger and "private detective" Sean Stranahan. I like all the characters (except for the ridiculous Velvet Lafayette). The setting along the Madison River is written so beautifully, I have looked up the location and hope to get there some day. The story is told mostly from Stranahan's perspective. He is a young, good man with sharp intellect and instincts. There is some art, lots of fishing and some good dialog. I will definitely use a credit to purchase the next book in the series.
If you enjoy Walt Longmire or Joe Pickett mysteries, this will be a good listen for you.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Up front I need to say that I fly fish for trout with a bamboo rod on smaller streams in the northeastern part of America. Oh yes--and I am a woman and I tie my own flies. My favorite aspects of fly fishing involve walking and reading the stream, wading out into the rushing water and really just being part of the complex wild ecosystem that fishing requires.
I really enjoy complex and well thought out mysteries set in distinct locations. Often it is difficult for me to read a mystery about a subject I know well because many times writers take on themes they don't really know inside out. This can ruin a story. Thankfully this is not this case with this book. McCafferty, the survival and outdoor skills editor for Field and Stream magazine, knows his subject well.
This is the first book in a mystery series set in Montana and I thought it was good. Some reviewers found that the book focused too much on "the fishing". I disagree--in fact I would have enjoyed a bit more detail on that subject. I mean, the plot and story are really about fly fishing in Montana. So, I don't understand how there can be too much fishing??
McCafferty's writing captures the beauty and wildness of nature and Montana. The story was engaging and the characters were unusual and interesting. I thought there was a good balance between the mystery, the background information and the atmosphere and sense of place the author established.
At times, I thought the narrator became monotone and sounded bored by the reading. But, for the most part Holmes did a good job reading the book.
Recommended if you like mysteries with quirky characters, some rough talk, a few gruesome scenes, a bit of violence and lots of the great outdoors. Oh, and yes, there is the fishing too.
29 of 34 people found this review helpful
Listened to the fourth book and enjoyed it so much had to start at the beginning. If you like Longmire or Joe Pickett you'll like this. Good character, tough talking female , and politically incorrect friend. The best part is the narrator. So good you don't notice him. His voices are done well and are not irritating.
9 of 11 people found this review helpful
I am a fan of Craigslist Johnson and after reading all his Longmire Series was looking for a authentic in a simular vien. This author is good but seems to be lacking the spark maybe humor of Mr. Johnson. I do not expect 2 author to write the same, but this author was sort of dark and depressing. I do not mine dark if there is enough amusement or humor to balance it. That I believe is the mark if a truly great author capturing that delicate balance.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This book is a sleeper of a "detective" novel. Sean Stranahan is a former private investigator and tries to resist getting pulled back into it. Fly fishing is clearly Keith McCafferty's love and his story evokes a ton of fishing imagery. The mystery evolves slowly as though the reader is fishing for it. McCafferty's best characters are those with the small parts. Pay attention to the English inn owner - he has some interesting things to say. I am afraid that the women characters, who figure strongly in the story are the weak point, especially Velvet Lafayette. She is a completely unbelievable character.
Anyway, having read another Stranahan book before this, the first book in the series, I'd say McCafferty started well and didn't lose much enthusiasm over time. Highly recommend.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
What did you like best about The Royal Wulff Murders? What did you like least?
Perhaps a cut above average story and a good, sound performance. I'm not a fisherman, but the fly fishing details and threat to trout were interesting; nonetheless, I wouldn't welcome a steady diet of that much detail. I found the several physical injuries to the protagonist a bit overdone.
What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?
The who-done-it aspect was most interesting. The on-again-off-again romance episodes would hardly capture one's attention very effectively. If I had been reading, rather than listening, I would probably have skipped much of that.
Which character – as performed by Rick Holmes – was your favorite?
Hard to say what character was performed best. Rick Holmes was so practiced and adroit he became invisible as the reader. All one hears is the characters, and the performance becomes transparent, as it should with a really professional job.
Did The Royal Wulff Murders inspire you to do anything?
Well, . . . I'm not going to take up fly fishing for trout, if that's what you're asking; however, I am going to check on the author's latest book.
9 of 13 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up The Royal Wulff Murders in three words, what would they be?
Good easy read.
What was one of the most memorable moments of The Royal Wulff Murders?
The almost near drowning of Stranahan by the murderer.
Have you listened to any of Rick Holmes’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
Not really-the book is an enjoyable, easy read, mystery.
Any additional comments?
If there is a negative the character which is the actual murderer is not introduced in the book until you are halfway into the book. I personally like for all the characters to be introduced up front. Let the games begin!
3 of 5 people found this review helpful
You really have to LOVE fly fishing to read this. The novel wasn't interspersed with references to fishing so much as this is a book about fly fishing interspersed with a mystery. The flashbacks for the back-story overloaded the beginning of the novel also.
Maybe it got better, since it received a great review in a magazine I read. You will have to judge for yourself.
Like most pocket mysteries, this story is a tad predictable, but the characters are unique and the storytelling is engaging. This is most definitely a book — and series — I'd recommend for long road trips, especially when chasing trout on that trip. It's engaging enough to keep you entertained, but not so detailed that you can't miss a moment or two if your attention gets pulled to a roadside river while scouting water.
Bottom line, I bought this book to test the author and the series. I'm now buying the rest of the series based on this good work I found here.
I enjoyed the descriptions of fly fishing tremendously. The mystery was compelling and there were some interesting characters. What I didn't like was the handling of the obligatory romantic angle of the story. I felt that our hero's relationship with the women was too male fantasy, and too manipulated to suit a formula, to ring at all true.