Cruzatte & Maria: A Montana Mystery Featuring Gabriel Du Pre

Peter Bowen, Author Minotaur Books $22.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-312-26253-2
The fierce and fiercely guarded independence of Montanans is always on display in Bowen's series about Gabriel Du Pr , the Metis-Indian fiddler whose sleuthing talents and survival skills often take surprising turns. In his eighth outing (following 2000's The Stick Game), the thirst for independence, coupled with antipathy toward outsiders, leads to murder. Du Pr , otherwise a strong, willful character, is usually putty in the hands of even stronger, more willful women, including daughter Maria, who persuades him to serve as a consultant to her boyfriend's film crew making a movie about the Lewis and Clark expedition. Du Pr also finds himself trying to fend off requests from a federal lawman to investigate the disappearance in Du Pr 's vicinity of nine Missouri River boaters in three years. Bowen's exuberant storytelling mines the rich cultural history of the West (Du Pr discovers a hidden cache buried by the Lewis and Clark expedition, which includes journals kept by Meriwether Lewis, with amusing results). But as filmmakers, environmentalists and others threaten to flock to Montana to exploit or celebrate or appropriate its resources, a dark side emerges. Some Montanans will do anything to protect their lives and their way of life. Beneath Bowen's delightfully extravagant characters lurks a warning: the inevitable clashes between outsiders and natives are sometimes funny, sometimes violent, but ultimately tragic. (Apr. 6)
Reviewed on: 03/01/2001
Release date: 03/01/2001
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