Cover image for Cruzatte and Maria : a Gabriel Du Pré mystery
Cruzatte and Maria : a Gabriel Du Pré mystery
Bowen, Peter, 1945-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Minotaur, [2001]

Physical Description:
264 pages ; 22 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



In his eighth outing, Metis-Indian fiddler, tracker, and amateur sleuth Gabriel Du Pre is called upon by his daughter Maria and her fiance to act as historical advisor for a documentary film about the Lewis & Clark expedition. Du Pre is the descendant of Pierre Cruzatte, one of the scouts who accompanied Lewis and Clark during their expedition, and has the relevant know-how to authentically recreate props. When Du Pre arrives at the shooting site, located in a remote region of Montana along the Missouri River, he finds himself in a volatile situation: major trouble is brewing between the local community and the tourists and the film makers of the documentary who are descending upon the historical site with increased frequency. The hostility takes its toll on the film production: the star quits and someone has set fire to the props. Then two bodies, that of a photojournalist and his companion who were retracing Lewis & Clark's route, are fished out of the Missouri -- shot to death. A disgruntled local? Or someone with even more insidious intentions? Meanwhile, Du Pre stumbles upon a secret cache left behind by the original Lewis & Clark expedition, containing Merriweather Clarks' journals. Suddenly, the backwater locale is swarming with media, and tensions rise to a boiling point. Peter Bowen combines a thorough knowledge of our national history with local atmosphere and a slew of offbeat characters to create an infatuating read.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The moviemakers have invaded little Toussaint, Montana, to make a documentary about Lewis and Clark. Planning to retrace the route the explorers took through the area, the filmmakers hire sometime cattle inspector, sometime fiddler, and sometime guide Gabriel Du Pre as a consultant. Soon it's apparent the film is also intended to act as a commercial for the area, to attract new residents--not a popular idea with the locals, some of whom react by killing outsiders rafting down the river. When Gabe discovers a cache of Lewis and Clark journals and maps, his old pal, FBI agent Charles Van Dusen (aka "The Ripper"), arrives to help find the killers and guard the Lewis and Clark discovery. The Du Pre mysteries are never as focused on dead bodies as they are on the clash of cultures. Gabe, a Metis Indian, views the world outside Toussaint with worldly skepticism yet doesn't cling mindlessly to the old ways, preferring to judge people and situations on their own merits. A solid entry in a great series. --Wes Lukowsky

Publisher's Weekly Review

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) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This time out, series sleuth Gabriel Du Pr‚ (The Stick Game) serves as historical consultant for a documentary film about the Lewis and Clark expedition. Trouble erupts between movie people and locals, with mayhem and murder close behind. More finely crafted Montana scenery. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter One Du Pré limped into the Toussaint Saloon. He slid up on a stool, wincing.     "What the hell happened to you?" said Susan Klein, not looking up from her knitting.     "Shoeing horses," said Du Pré. "One of them he don't like it so good."     Susan nodded.     "How bad?" she said.     "There is this sound," said Du Pré, "when his hock hit my ribs. Like when you crunch carrots, your teeth."     "Coughing any blood?" asked Susan Klein. She still didn't look up from her knitting.     "No big clots," said Du Pré.     Susan nodded.     "You want sympathy or a drink?" said Susan. She frowned at the wool in her hands.     "Both," said Du Pré.     Susan put her knitting down on the bartop. She went to the well and put ice in a tall glass with whiskey and water.     She pushed the drink over to Du Pré.     "You pore ol' son of a bitch," she said, looking at him mournfully.     Du Pré nodded.     He drank.     Susan went back to her stool and sat.     Click click click went her needles.     "Harvey Wallace called for you," said Susan. "He said he will call back."     "I am dead, tell him, ver' sad, but the funeral is tomorrow," said Du Pr    Harvey Fucking Weasel Fat Wallace, Du Pré thought, Blackfeet FBI Agent, never calls me with any good news.     "That would be telling an untruth," said Susan Klein.     "OK," said Du Pré, "I will tell him I am dead. Ow." He rubbed his ribs.     The door opened and a couple of ranchers came in laughing. They they took the drinks to the pool table and the balls thundered out of the belly of the table. A rancher racked them and the other broke; balls clacked.     "Shit," said one of the ranchers.     Du Pré rolled a smoke, and he lit it and blew out a long stream of blue-gray cloud.     "They really grind up dog turds to mix in that stuff?" said Susan Klein.     "Poodle," said Du Pré. "Ver' expensive dogs."     A ball rattled down a pocket.     "Whoeee!" said a rancher.     The telephone rang. Susan Klein didn't stir.     Neither did Du Pré.     The telephone rang and rang and rang. Finally, one of the ranchers went to the pay phone and picked it up.     "Yeah?" he said. He listened.     "Du Pré!" he said. "Fer you."     Du Pré sighed, and he got up and walked slowly toward the old box on the wall by the front door. The rancher who had answered it looked at him.     "Thanks," said Du Pré, "from my heart."     The rancher grinned.     Du Pré lifted the receiver to his ear.     "Yah," he said.     "Du Pré," said Harvey Wallace. "Long time no come to phone. You prick."     "I am dead," said Du Pré. "Ver' sad, you should come, the funeral, it is tomorrow."     "You don't want to talk to me," said Harvey. "I told my boss that you wouldn't. I said, `Du Pré will tell me to go to hell,' what I said. She said to try my best. Or I'd be out there, in the fucking cactus, eating fried calf nuts and smelling that stinking goddamned sagebrush and all the rest of that shit I couldn't wait to get away from."     "She say all that?" said Du Pré. "She knows you good, huh?" "Very smart lady," said Harvey. "Scary, actually. Here I am, drawing a fat government paycheck and bennies and all, and the ungrateful bitch wants me to work, too."     "I was kicked, a horse, today," said Du Pré. "And me, I come here to have some nice drinks, sit, smoke a little, get used to my ribs which are not the ribs I woke up with, this morning, they have changed. So maybe you could stop telling me, your work troubles, ask me what it is you want me to do so I can say go fuck yourself, Harvey and go back, get used to my ribs."     Harvey sighed.     "We have a problem maybe," said Harvey. "Actually I lied. My boss actually did not say a word to me. Nobody has. But, well, I don't have very much to do, you know, this being government work, and so I read the newspapers, lots of newspapers, and I even read some of what folks call newspapers out where you are."     "My ribs," said Du Pré. "They are waiting, your punch line."     "For the last three years," said Harvey, "people have been disappearing over there on the Missouri."     "Yah," said Du Pré, "'We have this governor, Meagher, he fall in long time ago they don't find him. So he is who I am looking for?"     Harvey sighed.     "I smell trouble," he said. "Look, nine people have just up and flat evaporated in the last three years. They all were going down the river through that White Cliffs area, you know, Fort Benton on--"     "To the dam," said Du Pré.     "Yeah," said Harvey. "They found their boats, floating down in the river, and they found their gear, some of it anyway, but the people they never did find...."     Du Pré sighed. He rubbed his sore ribs.     "Too bad," said Du Pré. "They go down the river covers them, mud and sand, they don't come up. Happens, you know."     "I know," said Harvey, "but I just don't like this."     "So," said Du Pré, "so send one of the Mormons you got, you know, the wing tips the suit, blend in so good, have them ask them questions."     "Very funny," said Harvey. "But there is something else. The local law there doesn't seem to care very much."     "Shit," said Du Pré. "They are lost, the river, but don't know what county they are lost in? They got no money at all, Harvey, is why they do not care. They got maybe a sheriff, two deputies, county big as them states back where you are, they got troubles now, yes."     Harvey sighed.     "Maybe," he said.     "Oh," said Du Pré. "You got no jurisdiction, can't send nobody, so you call me, your good friend Du Pré, him got the broken ribs and he is ver' thirsty, say, Du Pré, you maybe go up there, snoop around for your old friend Harvey, see maybe you can find a crime, one that he likes ..."     Harvey sighed.     "Fuck you, no," said Du Pré.     "I guess," said Harvey, "I'll have to talk to Madelaine."     "Prick," said Du Pré.     "Thing is," said Harvey, "much as I talk about the West and say I hope never to see goddamn prickly pear cactus and smell sage again I don't really mean it. What I am afraid of--"     "They already start a war out here, Harvey," said Du Pré. "They say, the ranchers, you are so bad for the environment . I know people get killed here, long time."     "I don't want that," said Harvey.     "Me either," said Du Pré.     "Good," said Harvey. "I knew I could count on you."     " NON! " yelled Du Pré.     "Thing was, well, about the dog...." said Harvey.     "My ribs hurt, I need a drink, I say no, non, Harvey, it is nice talking to you always. Go fuck the dog now, be happy," said Du Pré.     "It was this bloodhound," said Harvey.     Susan Klein brought Du Pré his drink. He had some.     "I sent this guy out there, look around a little," said Harvey.     "Wing tips, dark suit," said Du Pré.     "Ranch kid from Wyoming," said Harvey. "Supposed to be looking for a little spread, up on the river."     Du Pré sighed.     "He's there about three days, no motel, so he's got this little motor home, you know," said Harvey.     "Fuck," said Du Pré.     "One morning he's camped down by the river on BLM land, in this little grove of trees. Scratching at the door. My guy figures it is a dog got lost, he opens the door, there's the dog."     Du Pré waited.     "Big bloodhound," said Harvey. "Long face, big ears, and this sign on a string around his neck."     Du Pré muttered curses under his breath.     "Want to know what the sign says?" said Harvey.     Du Pré waited.     "Look on my collar," said Harvey. "So my guy does and there is this little brass plaque there, got the dog's name on it and a phone number."     Du Pré waited.     "My name is Whispering Smith," said Harvey. "That was the dog's name, I mean."    "There is no sign on that dog, look at my collar," said Du Pré.     "No, there wasn't," said Harvey. "But I thought I needed to add that for dramatic effect."     "Son of a bitch," said Du Pré.     "You know who Whispering Smith was?" said Harvey.     "Yes," said Du Pré.