Thursday, February 21, 2013

COYOTE WIND by Peter Bowen

"I dreamed of a coyote last night," said Benetsee, "he went up a draw, sat and howled by some people's bones." 

Du Pré grinned. I got me some strong women, here. The old saying, that the strength of the Métis was the men’s humility, but the backbone of the tribe was the women, who gave life itself.


I’ve read a lot of books in my life. Peter Bowen’s Coyote Wind is among the best of them.

Someone leads Montana Métis brand inspector Gabriel Du Pré to an old airplane wreck.

There among the bones are the skull and hands of a later skeleton. Du Pré sets out to find the identity of the man. He also plans to find who murdered him.

Along the way, the old Métis prophet Benetsee guides Du Pré. Du Pré’s strong women, his lover Madelene and Du Pré’s two daughters, take care of him. They sew his fancy clothes to fiddle in. And most of all, they love him.

Du Pré’s friend Bart begins the long road back from alcoholism. His huge wealth did not protect him from the bottle or from the grief in his life.

Du Pré solves the murder. The finally not-unexpected solution changes Du Pré’s life and Bart’s.

The Métis are a mix of French voyagers and aboriginal plains Indians. They came to Montana from Canada. Du Pré’s ethnicity influences everything he does. It informs his dialect (which is well reproduced in this story). It determines his religion (Roman Catholic). It even guides his humor and his view of other people, his strong feeling of the superiority of the Métis.

At one point, he thinks about the Canadian Scottish people of the town he is driving through--

“The Scots were the worst. Live in the mountains on an island, invent haggis, you’d have a sour view of the world, too.”

There’s no way to describe Coyote Wind. This is the second or third time I’ve read the book. I recommend it highly.

P.S. This edition was a just-released reasonably priced e-book. The book was originally published in 1994.


Randy Johnson said...

Love the two books I've read so far in this series.

Joe Barone said...

Over the years I have read most of the books in the series. I've never found one I didn't like.