The Cajuns
Gus Weill
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The Cajuns

Gus Weill
Simon & Schuster
304 pages
August 2004
rated 4 of 5 possible stars
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Richelieu, a small town in Southern Louisiana, is home to generations of Cajuns, where tradition runs deep and secrets are not spoken. In all the many years that Bobby Bourdreaux has been Richelieuís sheriff, the only secrets he has heard are the same ones that the whole parish has heard as well - usually something that only an outsider would find shocking, such as who is sleeping with which girl at the local cathouse or, something more tame but to the town more important, which meal was the best one cooked the night before. All of that changes when a certain young woman returns home to attend to her father, the local newspaper owner. She has spent many years living in the big city of New Orleans while working in the same profession as her father. She was a hotshot reporter for a large newspaper there, and upon her return home takes over her fatherís business. Within a few weeks of nursing her dying father and running the newspaper, she smells a secret.

Sheriff Bourdreaux has his hands full with her, not only in trying to stop her from poking around his quiet town, awakening people who have longed lived from day to day with their Catholic traditions, Jax beer, nightly Cajun-style cooking contests and dances. His sleepy little job, along with his never-questioning mind, find themselves jolted wide awake. Richelieu and its quaint Cajun mannerisms wonít be the same by the time they are done with each other and their questioning of the parishioners.

Gus Weill has an extraordinary grasp of the ways of Cajun folkways. His mystery flies off the pages as you find yourself introduced to characters that most thought had died out at the turn of the twentieth century. Weill makes readers feel like they are watching through a dusty window the people of Richelieu and their desperate attempts to bury themselves in the solid traditions of church and greased palms. After finishing his latest work in this, The Cajuns, I believe the readers will want to do what I did: read even more of his published books.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Lucinda Tart, 2005

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