Gabriel Du Pre, the Metis part time lawman is back in this second book in the series, along with his colorful cast of characters. Madeline, his lady, his two daughters, Jacquleine and Maria, his rich recovering friend, Bart, and old Benetsee, the hard drinking old Metis Prophet who sees things before they happen. I posted on the first book HERE.
In this one, a serial killer is at work in the D.C. area and Du Pre is in town at the invitation of a representative from the Smithsonian, Paul Chase, to play at a festival for nearly forgotten music from all over the country.
He’s playing his fiddle on stage when screams interrupt and he spots a scared horse bolting in the crowds and rushes to talk it down, in his calm coyote French. It belongs to a young Cree woman, one of the singers from Canada, and she’s found stabbed with a stone knife, the tip broke off in her wounds.
The second woman is choked with a cord made of seal skin. Also of Indian blood. The third victim, another Indian woman, is killed with a war club.
Du Pre returns home to Montana, agreeing to record some of his songs for Chase for preservation in the Smithsonian.
Then Chase calls again, inviting him on a canoe trip along the old trade routes in Canada, Not wanting to go, he finally agrees when old Bentesee urges him to go. It doesn’t take long for him to realize Chase is nothing more than a rich glory hog. The whites on the trip keep to themselves, not speaking to the Indian members and barely speaking to Du Pre and the guides. They bail after three days, then Chase suddenly shows up at the end when the newspapers are there for interviews.
Over the next months, the murders continue. Two small girls, stabbed, aman stabbed. Du Pre, who hates flying, makes several more trips to D.C., talking with police. Chase has involved him when it comes out he was dating the first victim, he claiming it was Du Pre, who doesn’t even know what the woman looked like.
Benetsee seems to be encouraging him to find the killer. You will know him when you see him. It’s already become apparent to Du Pre that he’s met the killer at some point. Chase? He doesn’t seem to have the smarts for such. Still. Another at that first festival likely.
Gabriel Du Pre is one of the most original characters I’ve read in a long time. I’ve read two now and look forward to more. While these books contain a mystery, they are more character studies of a people, the Metis, and one gleans a lot of information about them in these pages.
For more forgotten books, Patti Abbott is back gathering this week. Check out her blog, on Fridays, HERE.