Tony Hillerman (1925-2008), an Albuquerque, New Mexico, resident since 1963, was the author of 29 books, including the popular 18-book mystery series featuring Navajo police officers Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, two non-series novels, two children's books, and nonfiction works. He had received every major honor for mystery fiction; awards ranging from the Navajo Tribal Council's commendation to France 's esteemed Grand prix de litterature policiere. Western Writers of America honored him with the Wister Award for Lifetime achievement in 2008. He served as president of the prestigious Mystery Writers of America, and was honored with that group's Edgar Award and as one of mystery fiction's Grand Masters. In 2001, his memoir, Seldom Disappointed, won both the Anthony and Agatha Awards for best nonfiction.
At the opening of this latest installment in Hillerman's fabled series featuring Navajo tribal police officers Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee (e.g., Sacred Clowns, Audio Reviews, LJ 11/15/93), we learn that Leaphorn has finally retired. Yet, like so many fictional series detectives, he is soon called out of retirement to lend his expertise in a complex case. In this instance, it's the discovery of a skeleton on a sacred Navajo mountain, which Leaphorn suspects are the remains of a ranching heir who disappeared 11 years earlier, only days after coming into possession of a huge trust fund. Soon, several murders convince our duo that an old case is very much alive. George Guidall, who reads other Hillerman mysteries for Recorded Books, seems to have found the perfect rhythm for expressing the author's wonderful prose. Recommended for all popular collections and wherever Hillerman has a following.‘Mark Annichiarico, "Library Journal"
"Richly imagined, atmospheric, and briskly paced."--Chicago
"One of his more intricate plots and one of his more satisfying novels."--Los Angeles Times
"Tony Hillerman's novels are like no others."--San Diego Union-Tribune
"Gripping."--New York Times Book Review
YA‘The latest Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn mystery has vivid descriptions of Native American mythology and traditions but lacks the suspense and tightly woven plot of the earlier titles in this popular series. A skeleton is found on a high ledge of Ship Rock mountain, a place sacred to the Navahos. Tribal Police Lieutenant Chee and the now retired Leaphorn suspect correctly that it belongs to a wealthy rancher missing for 11 years, and Chee tries to discover if it is murder or an accidental death. Meanwhile, Leaphorn is hired by a lawyer to look into the investigation for the rancher's Eastern family, who want to own his land legally so they can accept a lucrative bid for the mining rights. The obvious suspects, if there was foul play, are the young woman who inherited the ranch and her brother who manages it. In addition to uncovering the cause of death, Chee must determine if the rancher died before or after his 30th birthday when he legally inherited the ranch from a family trust. The continuing rocky romance between Chee and tribal lawyer Janet Pete brings an interesting love angle to the story. Environmentalism and the survival of Native American culture are strong themes.‘Penny Stevens, formerly at Fairfax County Public Library, VA