Those looking for a great mystery series who have yet to discover Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee are in for a treat with Skinwalkers. Skinwalkers is one of Hillerman's finest pairings of young Navajo Tribal Police Officer, Jim Chee, and the legendary Lt. Joe Leaphorn. Sprinkled throughout this complex and entertaining mystery novel are insights into the Navajo people, from the way they speak, to their customs and broad family ties.
The book opens particularly well in a long and exciting sequence that basically ends with Jim Chee's cat saving his life. Jim Chee has a Navajo view of animals and hates interfering with them, but he takes mercy on this abandoned manx and even ends up building a little cat door in his trailer so the cat can come in when it wants to. That's what ends up saving Jim Chee's life. But Chee doesn't want to make a pet out of the cat, whom he calls "Cat." That was exactly what he couldn't allow to happen. But at the same time he was a good man and would never allow any animal to suffer. The cat subplot and it's end solution were very fun and satisfying to this reader. "Look out, Cat," he said. In other Jim Chee news, it looks like he and that #&$I(&([email protected] Mary Landon might be breaking up. You don't waste it, even if it tastes a little bit like coffee." "Odd," Mary Landon said. "What the old prof in Sociology 101 would call a cultural anomaly." It had seemed odd to Chee that not wasting water had seemed odd to Mary Landon. In other news, this is the first book in which Leaphorn and Chee work together. Leaphorn is older, more cynical, and Chee is more mystical and more religious, following the old Navajo ways.
I also enjoyed the story and how it incorperated some of the Native American Folklore/Mythology into the mystery.
This is my first dip into Hillerman's mystery series featuring Lt. Joe Leaphorn and Officer Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police.
Both are part of the Navajo Tribal Police force, but Leaphorn is based at Window Rock whereas Chee operates out of Shiprock, 120 miles to the north, across the rugged Chuskas Mountains. Leaphorn's interrogation skirts the unspoken question, what are you not telling me? Like every other investigator, they both know that an intended murder victim almost always has an idea of who and why they have been targeted. Leaphorn and Chee are something of an odd couple. The origin story of the Navajos explained witchcraft clearly enough, and it was a logical part of the philosophy on which the Dinee had founded their culture. Leaphorn recalls how Irma Onesalt was so offensive and rude that scores of people would have had a motive to kill her. SKINWALKERS is Hillerman's seventh Leaphorn/Chee mystery. I had originally intended to read these books in order, but when I saw this title on the shelf at our local library I couldn't resist. NOTES: maps for the Chee/Leaphorn books, including Skinwalkers: http://ehillerman.unm.edu/maps#sthash...
As you are reading their journey through their investigation, you learn about what the Navajo beliefs are on witchcraft and what skinwalkers are. You also learn as the story goes along that Chee is somehow involved with the murders.
To hell with Leaphorn and what he didn't believe.This is a complex tale of what people will do and believe when faced with tragedy, hidden in a crime story (the mystery isn't difficult to solve from early chapters).
Then he earned a Masters degree and taught journalism from 1966 to 1987 at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, where he resided with his wife until his death in 2008.