I have often wondered if Tony Hillerman is as interesting to people who did not grow up in the four corners area. After all, the places and people that are in these books are the ones that I grew up hearing about.
The people are all fictional of course but they sound like people I knew.
There was a brief moment of disconnect for me when Joe Leaphorn made a trip up to Mancos to visit with a rancher and the name wasn’t one that I recognized. In Mancos everybody knows everybody and hearing a name of a prominent citizen that didn’t exist messed with my sense of reality a little.
Despite that I found this book to be as thoroughly enjoyable as every other Tony Hillerman book I’ve read. I’ve never known him to miss yet.
This one is about the discovery of a body partway up Shiprock. The body sparks a memory in Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee gets involved when a case he is working on crosses paths with what Leaphorn is looking into.
The story is full of Hillerman’s trademarks, characters and their lives while they also happen to be investigating crimes on the Navajo reservation. This works really well because the characters are the kinds of people that you will want to spend time with. Many times the mystery is only barely as interesting as what the characters are doing and I count that as a good thing.
With many mystery writers the books become hard to tell apart because they are all the same book. Hillerman doesn’t fall into that trap, the titles and the stories are each distinct and memorable.
I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again but if you haven’t read Tony Hillerman you should.