Peter Maxwell is a Midwestern musician who enlisted in the U. S. Navy after Pearl Harbor.
Because of his musical experience he is assigned to direct the Navy choir in San Diego,
California. From the choir he organizes a quartet which call themselves "the Fantail Four."
Peter is unhappy with his assignment. He didn't enlist to direct a choir. He wanted to see
When he sees a posting for the Liberty Hill Victory looking for four officers he
persuades his friends to sign up with him. He becomes a junior officer on the Liberty
Hill Victory which he learns is an ammunition ship with an African American crew and a
racist captain. The ship's home port, San Francisco, is the scene of an explosion
accidentally caused during loading ammunition. Then Maxwell is caught up in a potential
mutiny by his crew. Finally they put out to sea only to be caught in a typhoon which
threatens to sink the ship. The brutalized body of one of the officers is discovered, and
with the assistance of black, ex-cop seaman, "Sarge" Washington, he must solve the murder.
In the midst of being bombed by a Japanese Zero, which sinks the ship, they are able to
find the murderer.
Red Sky in Morning gives the reader a glimpse into a racist period of our history
and the treatment of the African Americans in the service. There is also a great love story
between Maxwell and his wife, Kay, during their life in the Navy. There are a few exciting
episodes with a typhoon and a Japanese Zero bombing.
This is a quick read, with a feeling of nostalgia for any reader of the War II generation.