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White with Fish, Red with Murder    by Harley Mazuk order for
White with Fish, Red with Murder
by Harley Mazuk
Order:  USA  Can
Driven Press, 2017 (2017)
Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Author Harley Mazuk begins a debut series with White with Fish, Red with Murder taking place in 1948 San Francisco. Protagonist Frank Swiver is at a point in his life where paying the electric bill would cut into his purchase of wine, and his fondness for the the company of women.

At the moment, his romantic attention is centered on the secretary in his Private Investigator's office. When he is invited to wealthy wine connoisseur Frank Thursby's wine tasting held in the man's private railroad car, he readily accepts. To his astonishment, an ex-girlfriend is also there the widow of a man well-known in the wine community. Cicilia has been accused of deliberately serving her husband, Rusty, eggs loaded with poisonous mushrooms.

A kink in the festivities occurs when Thursby is shot to death even before the first wine is tasted!! Who could have deliberately shot the host of this tasting? And why? A second murder ramps up Swiver's investigation.

Mazuk takes the reader back to 1948 to solve this twisted crime, following Swiver as he questions possible suspects. While doing so Swiver is awash in the wines of that time. I am not very knowledgeable about wines good or bad but I am impressed with the mention of well-known wines as well as the lesser-known but more important ones. My glass of wine with dinner last night suited me but I'm sure could not even begin to compare with those found in this novel.

Mazuk uses the terminology of the era. I was in high school then and I recognize the language. Well done, but in my estimation a little overdone. Not enough to put this mystery down. It is well-written with great characters. The first paragraph pulls the reader into the story quickly while making readers wish they were standing on that train platform ready to board a train to somewhere unknown. I look forward to more of Frank Swiver.

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