The Case of the Murdered Mackenzie

The Masao Masuto Mysteries, Book 7

by Howard Fast
Detective Masuto reopens an investigation into a murderous film star—with deadly consequences
On the day that Eve Mackenzie murders her husband, Masao Masuto is on a plane to Japan. For years he and his wife, both American-born Japanese, have dreamed of visiting their homeland, and though the trip is a delight, the Zen Buddhist detective cannot help but check the international papers for news of murder on his home turf of Beverly Hills. Part of him regrets missing the sensational Mackenzie killing. Once a high-profile film star, Eve faded from the public eye after wedding a wealthy Scotsman—an unhappy marriage that ended in bloodshed. When Masuto returns home, Eve is headed toward an inevitable conviction. Why, then, does he reopen the case? The evidence against the Hollywood starlet is so airtight that Masuto suspects a frame-up. As he pries into the closed case, more blood spills. Eve Mackenzie may not have murdered her husband, but she is far from innocent. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Howard Fast including rare photos from the author’s estate.

Ebooks by Howard Fast

ABOUT Howard Fast


    Howard Fast (1914–2003), one of the most prolific American writers of the twentieth century, was a bestselling author of more than eighty works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and screenplays. Fast’s commitment to championing social justice in his writing was rivaled only by his deftness as a storyteller and his lively cinematic style.

    Born on November 11, 1914, in New York City, Fast was the son of two immigrants. His mother, Ida, came from a Jewish family in Britain, while his father, Barney, emigrated from the Ukraine, changing his last name to Fast on arrival at Ellis Island. Fast’s mother passed away when he was only eight, and when his father lost steady work in the garment industry, Fast began to take odd jobs to help support the family. One such job was at the New York Public Library, where Fast, surrounded by books, was able to read widely. Among the books that made a mark on him was Jack London’s The Iron Heel, containing prescient warnings against fascism that set his course both as a writer and as an advocate for human rights.

    Fast began his writing career early, leaving high school to finish his first novel, Two Valleys (1933). His next novels, including Conceived in Liberty (1939) and Citizen Tom Paine (1943), explored the American Revolution and the progressive values that Fast saw as essential to the American experiment. In 1943 Fast joined the American Communist Party, an alliance that came to define—and often encumber—much of his career. His novels during this period advocated freedom against tyranny, bigotry, and oppression by exploring essential moments in American history, as in The American (1946). During this time Fast also started a family of his own. He married Bette Cohen in 1937 and the couple had two children.

    Congressional action against the Communist Party began in 1948, and in 1950, Fast, an outspoken opponent of McCarthyism, was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Because he refused to provide the names of other members of the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee, Fast was issued a three-month prison sentence for contempt of Congress. While in prison, he was inspired to write Spartacus (1951), his iconic retelling of a slave revolt during the Roman Empire, and did much of his research for the book during his incarceration. Fast’s appearance before Congress also earned him a blacklisting by all major publishers, so he started his own press, Blue Heron, in order to release Spartacus. Other novels published by Blue Heron, including Silas Timberman (1954), directly addressed the persecution of Communists and others during the ongoing Red Scare. Fast continued to associate with the Communist Party until the horrors of Stalin’s purges of dissidents and political enemies came to light in the mid-1950s. He left the Party in 1956.

    Fast’s career changed course in 1960, when he began publishing suspense-mysteries under the pseudonym E. V. Cunningham. He published nineteen books as Cunningham, including the seven-book Masao Masuto mystery series. Also, Spartacus was made into a major film in 1960, breaking the Hollywood blacklist once and for all. The success of Spartacus inspired large publishers to pay renewed attention to Fast’s books, and in 1961 he published April Morning, a novel about the battle of Lexington and Concord during the American Revolution. The book became a national bestseller and remains a staple of many literature classes. From 1960 onward Fast produced books at an astonishing pace—almost one book per year—while also contributing to screen adaptations of many of his books. His later works included the autobiography Being Red (1990) and the New York Times bestseller The Immigrants (1977).

    Fast died in 2003 at his home in Greenwich, Connecticut.

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