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Mystery Books ... The Book Beat
Tony Hillerman

Welcome! The Beat in association with brings you these mystery books by Tony Hillerman! To learn more about or to order one of the following books, just click on the book's title.

The Wailing Wind
By Tony Hillerman

To Officer Bernadette Manuelito, the man curled up on the truck seat was just another drunk -- which got Bernie in trouble for mishandling a crime scene -- which got Sergeant Jim Chee in trouble with the FBI -- which drew Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn out of retirement and back into the old "Golden Calf" homicide, a case he had hoped to forget.
Nothing had seemed complicated about that earlier one. A con game had gone sour. A swindler had tried to sell wealthy old Wiley Denton the location of one of the West's multitude of legendary lost gold mines. Denton had shot the swindler, called the police, confessed the homicide, and done his short prison time. No mystery there.
Except why did the rich man's bride vanish? The cynics said she was part of the swindle plot. She'd fled when it failed. But, alas, old Joe Leaphorn was a romantic. He believed in love, and thus the Golden Calf case still troubled him. Now, papers found in this new homicide case connect the victim to Denton and to the mythical Golden Calf Mine. The first Golden Calf victim had been there just hours before Denton killed him. And while Denton was killing him, four children trespassing among the rows of empty bunkers in the long-abandoned Wingate Ordnance Depot called in an odd report to the police. They had heard, in the wind wailing around the old buildings, what sounded like music and the cries of a woman.
Bernie Manuelito uses her knowledge of Navajo country, its tribal traditions, and her friendship with a famous old medicine man to unravel the first knot of this puzzle, with Jim Chee putting aside his distaste of the FBI to help her. But the questions raised by this second Golden Calf murder aren't answered until Leaphorn solves the puzzle left by the first one and discovers what the young trespassers heard in the wailing wind.

The First Eagle
by Tony Hillerman

When Acting Lt. Jim Chee catches a Hopi poacher huddled over a butchered Navajo Tribal police officer, he has an open-and-shut case--until his former boss, Joe Leaphorn, blows it wide open. Now retired from the Navajo Tribal Police, Leaphorn has been hired to find a hot-headed female biologist hunting for the key to a virulent plague lurking in the Southwest. The scientist disappeared from the same area the same day the Navajo cop was murdered. Is she a suspect or another victim? And what about a report that a skinwalker--a Navajo witch--was seen at the same time and place too? For Leaphorn and Chee, the answers lie buried in a complicated knot of superstition and science, in a place where the worlds of native peoples and outside forces converge and collide.

Amazon Readers say ... "As any true Hillerman fan will conclude, however, any new novel featuring Chee and Leaphorn in the four corners vistas starts out, per se, almost as good as it gets; so even a lesser performance is still thoroughly enjoyed. I now join the thousands of other fans who are anxiously awaiting the next in the series."

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Tony Hillerman

Past president of the Mystery Writers of America and has received their Edgar and Grand Master awards. His other honors include the Center for the American Indian's Ambassador Award, the Silver Spur Award for best novel set in the West, and the Navajo Tribe's Special Friend Award. He lives with his wife, Marie, in Albuquerque, NM.

The Fallen Man
Hardcover, by Tony Hillerman, Published December 1996. (A superb mystery series... A Sgt. Jim Chee & Lt. Leaphorn Mystery.)

And now in paperback - Amazon readers say... "It was so nice to catch up with Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee again that the story was almost secondary. Joe has always been my favorite of the two, but Jim Chee's character really captivated me in this one. Every part of this book has something to recommend it ... All in all, a great read."

The Blessing Way
by Tony Hillerman,Paperback
- High on the desolate mesa they found the body. The mouth was filled with sand. No tracks, no clues. Every Navajo knew that nothing human killed like that. Rumors of witchcraft and the supernatural are nothing new to Lt. Joe Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal Police. He and anthropologist Bergen McKee had stalked the Wolf-Witch before. Always it had eluded them, vanishing like a ghost on the wind. But never had it left such a horrifying trail of murder. For Lt. Leaphorn, the case was a baffling challenge to his logic. For Bergen McKee, it was a problem of academic concern. Now, no longer is tracking the Navajo Wolf simply a challenge - now it's a matter of life and death.

Hunting Badger
by Tony Hillerman,Paperback
- Three armed men raid the Ute tribe's gambling casino, and then disappear in the maze of canyons on the Utah-Arizona border. The FBI takes over the investigation, and agents swarm in with helicopters and high-tech equipment. Making an explosive situation even hotter, these experts devise a theory of the crime that makes a wounded deputy sheriff a suspect -- a development that brings in Tribal Police Sergeant Jim Chee and his longtime colleague, retired Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn to help. Chee finds a fatal flaw in the federal theory and Leaphorn sees an intriguing pattern connecting this crime with the exploits of a legendary Ute hero bandit. Balancing politics, outsiders, and missing armed fugitives, Leaphorn and Chee soon find themselves caught in the most perplexing -- and deadly -- crime hunt of their lives....

Amazon readers say ... "Hunting Badger is a worthy addition to Hillerman's already strong collection of mysteries. Although at the beginning of the book the mystery doesn't seem to be terribly mysterious, the plot twists a few times and is very satisfying by the end. But superceding the plot, and for the first time superceding the Navajo culture, is the character development of the two heros, Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn. It is high praise indeed that we care more about the characters than about the outcome of the manhunt..."

The Fly on the Wall
by Tony Hillerman, Paperback
- John Cotton was a simple man with one desire: to write the greatest story of his life and have enough life left to read all about it. Reporter John Cotton knows what to do when he finds a great story, but he is a little afraid when a big story begins to find him. It starts when a fellow reporter is murdered and his notebook, filled with information about a tax scam, ends up in John's hands. Not long afterwards, a body is discovered in John's car. Then John's car ends up in the river, a bomb is found in his apartment, and his girlfriend drops out of sight. It's up to John to unravel the mystery of the notebook and why anyone would kill for the information it contains.

Coyote Waits
by Tony Hillerman, Paperback
(A Sgt. Jim Chee & Lt. Leaphorn Mystery.)
- Amazon readers say "Right from the moment where a car fire on a dirt road announces trouble with a capital "T," I enjoyed "Coyote Waits" a lot. Hillerman's pace is measured but not sleep-inducing. It was fascinating to see two policemen work in different ways to solve the same crime."

Finding Moon
by Tony Hillerman, Paperback
- Tony Hillerman's bestselling Navajo mysteries have thrilled millions of readers with their taut, intricate plotting, sensitive, subtle characterizations and lyrical evocations of landscapes and cultures. Now he departs his trademark terrain and applies his talents to a story he has wanted to tell for decades about an ordinary man thrust into total chaos. Until the telephone call came for him on April 12, 1975, the world of Moon Mathias had settled into a predictable routine. He knew who he was. He was the disappointing son of Victoria Mathias, the brother of the brilliant, recently dead Ricky Mathias and a man who could be counted on to solve small problems. But the telephone caller was an airport security officer, and the news he delivered handed Moon a problem as large as Southeast Asia. His mother, who should be in her Florida apartment, is fighting for her life in a Los Angeles hospital -- stricken while en route to the Philippines to bring home a grandchild they hadn't known existed. The papers in her purse send Moon into a world totally strange to him. They lure him down the back streets of Manila, to a rural cockfight, into the odd Filipino prison on Palawan Island and finally across the South China Sea to where Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge is turning Cambodia into killing fields and Communist rockets are beginning to fall on the outskirts of Saigon. Finding Moon is many things: a latter-day adventure epic, a deftly orchestrated romance, an arresting portrait of an exotic realm engulfed in turmoil, and a neatly turned tale of suspense. Most of all, it is a singular story of how a plain, uncertain man finds his best self.

Dance Hall of the Dead
by Tony Hillerman, Paperback.
- Amazon readers say "...the perfect book for the murder mystery lover ... The book was so great that I could not put it down until I learned what happened next ...

Best of the West
by Tony Hillerman, Paperback.
- A sterling collection of classic and contemporary fiction and nonfiction evoking the unique spirit of the West and its people, selected and introduced by one of today's premier chroniclers of the Western landscape and a New York Times bestselling author.

The Dark Wind
by Tony Hillerman, Paperback
- A corpse in the desert-its face unidentifiable, its hands and feet flayed ... A mysterious plane crash and a missing cache of cocaine ... Sgt. Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police had no business meddling in these matters. His assignment is simple: discover who is sabotaging a windmill on land recently ceded over to the Hopis. But his extraordinary tracking skills and genius for sleuthing will lead him deep into the remote washes and isolated mesas where the Hopis hold their most secret ceremonies, trapping him in a deadly web of intrigue driven by Navajo sorcery and white man's greed.

Amazon readers say ... "I've read this book twice now, and I would have to say that it is definitely one of Hillerman's better ones. I love the way Hillerman has characterized Chee with very simple sentences, reminiscent of Hemingway. They make Chee seem like a very uncomplicated, spiritual man, and a very thoughtful person ..."

by Tony Hillerman, Paperback
- When the Federal Witness Protection Program sends a felon to the Navajo "Big Reservation" without informing the Tribal Police, the results is a chain of treachery and killings that the FBI lacks the knowledge to solve. After a shootout between two strangers at the Shiprock Wash-O-Mat, Officer Jim Chee is called in to help. The routine search for a missing Navajo girl snares Chee into a puzzle that lures him across the America West to the forbidden underside of LosAngeles--and to a healing ceremonial where the cure may turn out to be death.

The Listening Woman
by Tony Hillerman, Paperback
(A Sgt. Jim Chee Mystery)
- The state police and FBI are baffled when an old man and a teenage girl are brutally murdered. The blind Navajo Listening Woman speaks of ghosts and of witches. But Lieutenant Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal Police knows his people as well as he knows cold-blooded killers. His incredible investigation carries him from a dead man's secret to a kidnap scheme, to a conspiracy that stretches back more than one hundred years. Leaphorn arrives at the threshold of a solution--and is greeted with the most violent confrontation of his career.

People of Darkness
by Tony Hillerman, Paperback. (A Sgt. Jim Chee Mystery.)
- Amazon readers say ... "The mystery involves the attempted murder of a dying man, the disappearance of his corpse from the hospital morgue, a uranium mine, a fatal oil-well explosion 30 years earlier, and the theft of a keepsake box filled mostly with black rocks. This novel has the distinction of featuring the scariest, most chilling villain of the series ..."

Sacred Clowns
by Tony Hillerman, Paperback
(A Sgt. Jim Chee & Lt. Leaphorn Mystery)
- First there was the trouble at Saint Bonaventure boarding school. A teacher is dead, a boy is missing, and a councilwoman has put a lot of pressure on Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn and Officer Jim Chee -to find her grandson. Sitting on a rooftop watching sacred clowns perform their antics in a Puebla ceremonial, Chee spots the boy. Then, suddenly, the crowd is in commotion. One of the clowns has been savagely murdered. Without a single due, On and Leophorn must follow a serpentine trail through the Indian dons and nations, seekig the thread that links two brutal murders, a missing teenager, a bond of lobbyists trying to put a toxic dump site on Pueblo land, and an invaluable memento given to the tribes by Abraham Lincoln in a fast-paced, flawless mystery that is Hillerman at his lyrical evocative, spellbinding best.

by Tony Hillerman,Paperback .
(A Sgt. Jim Chee & Lt. Leaphorn Mystery.)
- Navajo Tribal Police Officer Jim Chee and Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn investigate murders that lead them into spine-tingling and mystical world of Navajo witchcraft. Three unsolved homicides and an attempt on Chee's life have left the Navajo Tribal Police baffled. Are the murders somehow connected, although they occurred 120 miles apart? Or are they random acts of violence? Chee and Leaphorn's efforts to solve the seemingly unrelated individual crimes leave them with clues that point toward one suspect, in this suspenseful mystery.

Talking God
by Tony Hillerman, Paperback.
(A Sgt. Jim Chee & Lt. Leaphorn Mystery ...New York Times Bestseller...)

Master storyteller Tony Hillerman reunited Lt. Joe Leaphorn and Officer Jim Chee in an intricately woven mystery involving two seemingly unrelated cases--one about grave robbing to protest a museum's policy of not returning ancestral remains to Native Americans . . . the other concerning a murder victim whose body has been carefully stripped of identification. . .

The Great Taos Bank Robbery and Other Indian Country Affairs
by Tony Hillerman, Paperback
- For the very first time in mass market paperback, here is a unique compilation about life in New Mexico by one of the nation's finest writers. Tony Hillerman, who knows the Southwest like no other contemporary writer; presents nine extraordinary, true tales that capture the history and rhythms of daily life in New Mexico. From the comical title story of the holdup that didn't happen, to the riveting account of scientist tracking the Black Death through the arroyos in "We All Fall Down," to the ironic account of how a Black cowboy's commonsense intelligence destroyed the dogma of the Smithsonian Institution in "Othello in Union County," master storyteller Tony Hillerman reveals the present and the timeless past of one of America's most beautiful and haunting regions.



Information, Reviews and More!

Anasazi Heritage Center
A museum of the Ancestral Puebloan (or Anasazi) culture
and other Native cultures in the Four Corners region.

Archaeological Sites of the Southwest
A catalog of prehistoric archaeological sites in the "Four-Corners" states
(Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico) of the American Southwest
that are on public land and are legally open to visitation.

Books in Brief: Mysteries Among the Mesas

Fallen Man excerpt at OneWorld Magazine

Four Corners Area History

Four Corners Map

Nat'l Geographic: Four Corners Flight Over

PBS Questions & Answers
An Online Q&A With Tony Hillerman
Tony Hillerman kindly responded to the many
thoughtful questions they received.

BookPage Interview
Sitting down and setting out with Tony Hillerman
Interview by Rosemary Zibart

Writing the Southwest: Tony Hillerman.

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