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Om Swedes' Ferry
Continuing its tradition of publishing first novels by establishe dpoets, Coteau presents the story of Constable Leslie Simpson,a Manitoba member of the North-West Mounted Police, who takes a day off to make a quick buck south of the border, and winds up battling to stave off the intentions of not only a very nasty Pinkerton agent, but the third-richest man in the United States. When Simpson robs the First National Bank in Bismark, North Dakota, inadvertently killing the bank manager in the process, the chase is on, across much of the Canadian prairies and the northern American plains. The bank happens to be owned by Canadian-born James J. Hill, the real-life railroad millionaire who is named in Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Hill crisscrosses the plains on his recently-completed Great Northern Railroad, with his opera singer and dominatrix travelling companions. He's used to getting what he wants and keeping what he has. So when he loses his Great Northern payroll in Bismark, what he most wants is for the vicious William Pinkerton and his sleazy henchman Jiggs Dubois to bring him the head of the varmint that took it.This is fascinating historical fiction, full of detailed information about the prairie border country, the people, the horses, and the weaponry,as well as the customs and cultural peccadilloes of the day in neighbouring nations that are developing in very different ways.