Specimen Song: A Gabriel Du Pre Mystery

Peter Bowen, Author St. Martin's Press $18.95 (201p) ISBN 978-0-312-11896-9
Bowen sustains interest in this follow-up to Coyote Wind despite the lack of a believable suspect, discernible clues or a precise sense of place. He relies on his unusual protagonist, Gabriel Du Pre, a laconic rancher, fiddle player and self-mocking, part Native American freethinker given to abstract utterances. Lured from his native Montana to perform in a Washington, D.C., music festival, Du Pre is fiddling when a young Indian woman dies, the first of several murders that occur in his trail. Each is committed with a primitive weapon; all are foretold by a shaman; in the vicinity, each time, is psychotic rich man and artistic hanger-on, Paul Chase. Yet all Du Pre can do is wait for the shaman's next warning and follow his best hunches: that the killer's motive is pleasure, that Chase is being used for cover and that Du Pre is the killer's real focus. It's often hard to locate Du Pre as he is seen, variously, navigating a Canadian river, drinking with his lover Madelaine and playing with his grandchildren. But Bowen's prose is often droll and his characters well-etched; only clue seekers are in for a lean time here. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
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