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The Royal Wulff Murders (Sean Stranahan #1)

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  881 Ratings  ·  162 Reviews
A clever and fast-paced murder mystery full of wit, suspense, and fly fishing.

When a fishing guide reels in the body of a young man on the Madison, the Holy Grail of Montana trout rivers, Sheriff Martha Ettinger suspects foul play. It's not just the stick jammed into the man's eye that draws her attention; it's the Royal Wulff trout fly stuck in his bloated lower lip. Fo
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Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 16th 2012 by Viking
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Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
I read this book way back April/May, but never really got to writing a review for it. I was looking for a new series to read and this one seemed like a good choice since I got Longmire vibes when it came to the story. Well, it got a sheriff and it takes place in Montana. Also, I was hoping to get approved for the latest book in the series so I bought this one so I had some back story to the latest one if I got approved, which I did.

The body of a young man is reeled in by a fishing guide and Sher
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Veronica
I started and finished this today, my last day of vacation before heading back to work. I liked it, maybe more so because it's set in Montana with all it's natural beauty and part of my vacation was spent in nature. It's nothing flashy or spectacular but it makes for a good comfortable read with pleasant characters, told in third person from the alternating viewpoints of Sean Stanahan, a transplanted Vermontian (Vermoner?), and Martha Ettinger, the homegrown local Sheriff. The one character I co ...more
Deb
Feb 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
When I received a copy of The Royal Wulff Murders as a first-reads giveaway through Goodreads, I was delighted to be chosen for a thriller. Once I read it, I was even more thrilled! Keith McCafferty did an incredible job in the writing of the book, and I thank him for sharing his dream with us bibliophiles!

I only gave this one 4 stars because 4.5 was not an option, and I couldn't bring myself to give it 5. For someone who is an avid angler and loves a great thriller/mystery - this is THE book fo
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James
Feb 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: giveaway-wins
I received this book as part of the Goodreads First Reads program (giveaway). The book was well written and the story was good but I really struggled to get through this one. The story centered around two subjects that are near the top of my "subjects that I know the least about" list. First, the main character is an artist. I can tell the difference between a painting and a sculpture, barely. I certainly don't know anything about badger hair brushes or why they are important to art or anything ...more
Kathy
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Royal Wulff Murders by Keith McCafferty

I can answer the question if a non-flyfishing read would enjoy “The Royal Wulff Muders” by Keith McCafferty.

The answer is a resounding YES!

But, it may help if you also enjoy a thrilling murder mystery, the Yellowstone area, the Rocky Mountain life, and the intrigue of several interesting women chasing the former private eye who now lives the artsy life near Ennis, Montana.

This is a well-written page turner set in one of hte greatest places in North Am
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LJ
First Sentence: The fishing guide known as Rainbow Sam found the body.

The body of a young man with a Royal Wulff trout fly through his lip is retrieved from a log jam, but that’s not what killed him. Sherriff Martha Ettinger, along with ex-PI, painter, fly-fisher Sean Stranahan, look to find the killer amid the very big-money fly-fishing business of Montana.

From the very beginning, we are made aware of McCafferty’s humour—“The client, whose largest trout to date had been the size of a breakfast
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Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Fishing, fly or in any other variety, is not my thing at all. Heck, I hardly even eat fish, mostly only under duress. I am perfectly happy to let them keep doing their thing. Nor do I have any desire to ever go fishing myself. Mysteries aren't my preferred reading either. But I try to be somewhat open-minded about my reading choices, so when the lure of a fly fishing mystery was dropped in front of me, I bit.

Should I have? Maybe not. The opening parts were definitely hard on me. There was so muc
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Kristen
Feb 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
At first it was really hard to get into this book because of fishing lingo, but once I got past page thirty, I was totally emerged in the Royal Wulff Murders. I like to fish, but I am by no means a fisherwoman. I just enjoyed the mystery of the people dying and the odd details that accompany the murders. I was engaged and curious throughout the book. It was also really exciting that the setting is placed in real cities in Montana, and I felt that I got a country/rural perspective for this city ...more
Lindig
Apr 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I'm not sure what I think of this book. The "how to fish" info was very interesting, and I would have liked more data on fly-tying. The mystery was interesting but not viscerally engaging, partially because of the characters involved. Everybody seemed as though I were watching them behind a scrim, that no matter what they said or what was said about them, their essences were at a remove. This is especially true of Vareda, the main character's love interest, whom the author seems to have worked e ...more
Donna Siebold
Aug 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
I inadvertently read the second of this series before this the first. The second book makes several references to happenings in the first book. I thought the first book would really flesh out these happenings, unfortunately, this was not the case. Only one happening is especially detailed. I found many of the characters flat and one-sided and the big reveal at the end was obvious from about five chapters earlier. He does do a great job of describing fly fishing and its accroutements!
Heather O'Leary
Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was ok
I initially picked up the book because I love mysteries and the book takes place where I grew up. Some of the locations were fictionalized versions of places that I remember from childhood. The author is a fly fisherman and he writes very detailed passages about fly fishing, which would appeal to other fly fisherpeople. Unfortunately, the story and characters failed to grip me and I quit half-way through.
Thomas Hart
Feb 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. I love the characters, especially the fishing guide Rainbow Sam, and I love the setting. When it's at its best, The Royal Wulff Murders is a page-turning thrill to read, and luckily for the reader that holds true pretty much the wohle book. I've been lucky enough to fish in Montana many times in my life, and this book brings that beautiful state and its fantastic rivers vividly to life--well, and to death. It is a heck of a murder mystery, after all.
Donna Brown
Jan 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
Decided that I wasn't going to continue reading. Anyone who loves to fish will probably like this book. I like to fish but I realized I like to sit with my feet in a stream and dream about nothing. When the fish strikes, it makes my day. I don't want to think about fishing a body out of a stream.
Pamela
Feb 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
It wasn't a bad little cozy, but neither was it a very good one. Pretty much "meh" all around. As I'm neither a fly fisherman nor interested in becoming one, I doubt I'll read any more of this series.
Leslie
Jul 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I just loved the heck out of this book..there wasn't a page I didn't enjoy. Heck, Big Sky country, a mystery, a lady sheriff, fishing and love. What's not to like? And p.s., you don't have to know one end of a pole from the other to like this mystery.
Richard Duncan
Nov 10, 2017 rated it liked it
I occasionally pick up a book as a memento of a trip. It doesn't always work out so well. I have a mystery set in Cape Cod from a trip two years ago, with a book-mark still stuck on about page 20.

I picked this up in a bookstore in the Missoula airport, on my way home from a very enjoyable week in Montana - a week that included a day of guided fly-fishing, some of the best fishing of my life. The book had a sticker on it, proudly proclaiming "Local Author."

The author certainly knows his fishing -
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Eric
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
I picked this one up from the author in an awesome little bookstore in Cody, Wyoming. I’m a mystery fan and I love the Northern US Rockies, so this book seemed like a good fit. And I enjoyed it quite a lot! The author does a terrific job describing the beauty and tranquility of the Rockies and the little towns that dot Montana. The characters are interesting and believable. The author clearly knows his stuff about fly fishing too! I’m not a fisherman, but it’s easy to see he loves the sport. It’ ...more
Paul
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
A very unpleasant read. Like walking through a dark swamp.
Too much unnecessary extreme language, overly graphic descriptions, and even an unnecessary racist passage. Montana and its residents do not need to be represented by such writing.
The author seemed to want to tell us everything he knows about fly fishing, to impress us with his knowledge of it. It was too much, even for a fly fisherman.
I had to keep pushing myself to continue reading, and to finish it.
I might eventually try another of th
...more
Jeanne
Nov 16, 2017 rated it liked it
I gave this three stars only because the mystery was pretty good and the narrator ( I got this from audible) did a nice job. But there was just too much about fly fishing, tying flies, picking rods, etc. If you are a fly fisherman, these mysteries are for you. I am sure the information given was accurate and well researched but it was just more than I needed to know and not really necessary for the story.
Susan
Sep 26, 2017 rated it liked it
From the title I thought that this might be a Tudor historical mystery. However, it is actually a contemporary story about fly fishing. In Montana this is a big business that a mysterious fish disease has put in jeopardy. Sean Stranahan has left his old life behind and is trying to make it as a painter. Sheriff Martha Ettinger has to be tough to make a career in a man’s world. An interesting plot and vivid setting; will probably look for the next in the series.
Jennifer
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
The best kind of mystery in my opinion: a good story with solid, likeable characters who each have a bit of quirkiness; an interesting storyline that taught me a great deal about Montana fly fishermen/women and a sympathetic lead character. I was delighted to realize that the author has written several more with the same lead character!
Cynthiaj
Jan 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Still unsure about this one. Kind of saw the bad guy coming as well as the outcome. Also, didn't want the protagonist to get in bed with the one he gets in bed with. Oh well. Entertaining enough getting to/from work.
Sarah
Jul 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Enjoyable airplane read, with some interesting characters and a few who were far too cliche. The third star is for the fly fishing details, which distinguish the novel a bit from other detective types. I'll read more in the series.
Rose
Jan 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5. I read the 6th book in this series first and liked it so well I read the first. Not quite as good but the characters and Montana make these books enjoyable and I know nothing about trout fishing. McCafferty writes a good yarn.
Cyn Mcdonald
Aug 21, 2017 rated it liked it
I read the second and third in the series before getting hold of this one. More than you ever wanted to know about whirling disease (a parasitic infection affecting trout) unless, of course, you love fly-fishing for trout. Good if you like outdoorsy settings.
Rachel
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is not spell binding or a gripping page turner, but a fun distraction bringing back images of Montana through a detective story. The women characters are not well done, but it's a good story that moves along. I'll probably read the next one too.
Nina Chambers
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great dialog & plot. Lotsa fly-fishing lote in Bridger, Mt!! So glad to hv stumbled on to this author!!
Mary Jo
Jul 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Liked the setting but a little too much fishing stuff for me.
Jeanne
Jul 20, 2017 rated it liked it
I might have enjoyed this novel better if I was into fly-fishing, but I will admit that the natural descriptions are pretty good and includes some nicely developed characters.
Douglas
Sep 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Mr Stranahan is NOT Joe Pickett!
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Keith McCafferty is the Survival and Outdoor Skills Editor of Field & Stream. He has written articles for publications as diverse as Fly Fisherman Magazine, Mother Earth News, Grays Sporting Journal and the Chicago Tribune, and on subjects ranging from mosquitoes to wolves to mercenaries and exorcism. Based in Montana and working on assignment around the globehe recently spent a month in India ...more
More about Keith McCafferty...

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Sean Stranahan (6 books)
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  • Buffalo Jump Blues (Sean Stranahan #5)
  • Cold Hearted River (Sean Stranahan #6)