The Gray Ghost Murders
A Montana Fly Fishing Mystery by Keith McCafferty
Review: When two bodies of two men are discovered buried in shallow graves on a ridge overlooking the Madison River in Montana, the local authorities are puzzled. And when it is further determined that both men were relatively old and both dying of fatal diseases, their case gets even stranger in The Gray Ghost Murders, the second mystery in this series by Keith McCafferty.
Sheriff Martha Ettinger has no leads as to the identity of either man. Their deaths apparently occurred about four months apart, one about a year ago, the other just before winter cold would have frozen the ground solid. It seems clear that the men were murdered, but why go to the trouble of (a) killing men that were near death anyway and (b) burying them when the wildlife and elements would have erased virtually all traces of their bodies within a short period of time. It isn't until a spent rifle shell and a wedding band are later found in the vicinity that Ettinger has her first clues in the case. Separately, fishing guide and sometime artist Sean Stranahan agrees to search for two rare handcrafted — and very valuable — fishing flies that have been stolen from the lodge of the Madison River Liars and Fly Tiers Club.
The Gray Ghost Murders is a superior mystery, one in which the two primary storylines are deftly developed and interweaved. The narrative is roughly divided into three parts: the first sets up the parallel investigations; the second resolves the whys but not the whos; while the third brings everything together. All three parts go on too long, but the beautifully painted backdrop of the Montana setting helps distract one when the going gets a little slow, as it does in places. The characters are well-defined, but paradoxically somewhat hard to read (as it were). These are complex individuals, more different than they are alike, who both respect and yet still seem wary of each other. It's an interesting — and actually quite appealing — arrangement for a series.
The book closes with an incredibly poignant author note. Do not miss reading this; it says a lot about the series in general, and the author in particular.
Acknowledgment: Penguin Group provided an eARC of The Gray Ghost Murders for this review.
Review Copyright © 2013 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The Royal Wulff Murders
Viking (Hardcover), February 2012
ISBN-13: 9780670023264; ISBN-10: 0670023264
Buffalo Jump Blues
Viking (Hardcover), June 2016
ISBN-13: 9780525429593; ISBN-10: 052542959X
Location(s) referenced in The Gray Ghost Murders: Montana
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The Gray Ghost Murders by Keith McCafferty — A Montana Fly Fishing Mystery
Publication Date: February 2013
List Price: $26.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
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