From New York Times bestselling author Tony Hillerman comes another unforgettable mystery in which Leaphorn & Chee must race against the clock to solve two brutal murders.
“[Hillerman's] clowns are . . . every bit as raucous, profane, and funny as Shakespeare's."—New York Times Book Review
During a kachina ceremony at the Tano Pueblo, the antics of a dancing koshare fill the air with tension. Moments later, the clown is found bludgeoned to death, in the same manner a reservation schoolteacher was killed only days before.
Officer Jim Chee and Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn believe that answers lie in the sacred clown's final cryptic message to the Tano people. But to decipher it, the two Navajo policemen may have to delve into closely guarded tribal secrets—on a sinister trail of blood that links a runaway, a holy artifact, corrupt Indian traders, and a pair of dead bodies.
Telling his story the Navajo way, Hillerman ( Coyote Waits ) fully develops the background of the cases pursued by Navajo Tribal Policemen, Lt. Joe Leaphorn and Officer Jim Chee, so that the resolutions--personal and professional--ring true with gratifying inevitability. A white woodshop teacher at St. Bonaventure's mission school is bludgeoned to death in his schoolroom; a student, a young boy from Tano Pueblo, is missing. The boy's uncle, a koshare, or sacred clown, in a kachina dance, is stabbed to death right after the ceremony in which he has symbolically warned of the dangers of selling sacred objects; an old man is killed on the highway in a hit and run. Chee, who is apprehensive about working for Leaphorn, tries to locate the missing boy, whose grandmother is on the Navajo Tribal Council, and to learn who ran down the old man, but he is distracted by his growing attachment to lawyer Janet Pete and by his desire to be a hataalii , or shaman, as well as a cop. Leaphorn searches for clues while simultaneously grieving for his wife who died 18 months earlier and considering his relationship with linguistics professor Louisa Bourebonette. Jurisdictional conflicts with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Apache County Sheriff's Office reflect the cultural differences that obtain among tribes and clans as this first Leaphorn story in three years, steeped in Navajo lore and traditions, draws to its convincing conclusions. 350,000 first printing; major ad/promo; Mystery Guild selection; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternates .
Customer ReviewsSee All
Pretty good read
Hillerman’s characters are well developed and interesting. Good plot line that exposes one to the Indian culture of the Southwest. Just enough underlying sexual tension to keep you guessing.
Loved the characters and the story. Keeps you guessing until the end. Love this area of the country and the details on the Native American culture.