A complex mystery is interwoven with the care befitting a sacred blanket as we learn about the Navajo and their beliefs. That crossroad for both men is fully explored during this one, each man's loneliness and their individual efforts to end it, poignantly painted by Hillerman in a mystery as good as any he ever penned. There is need and loneliness here for both men, Chee trying to begin, and Leaphorn attempting to start over.
Jim Chee had been reading a book of Margaret Atwood's short stories he'd borrowed from Janet Pete, thinking it might impress her. He decided Miss Atwood would call Blizzard's expression either "bleak" or "stolid." Or maybe "wintry." Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn are once again working a series of seemingly unrelated cases that end up coming together. This is the first book where Chee is working directly under Leaphorn and not Largo - hopefully another step towards these two becoming friends. Chee is being a whiny baby about working for Leaphorn. Luckily, Chee got over this and started acting like an actual police officer eventually. And as for Chee, well, we've got a lot of problems in regards to his relationship with half-Navajo lawyer, Janet Pete. He thought about Janet Pete. I really like when Janet talks about sex with Jim Chee. I started liking you because you're kind to people." "If I had known that, I would have been even kinder," Chee said. "But I'm not just going to be just another of Jim Chee's girlfriends." Okay, the good - I completely agree with her about kindness. Obviously she should be very sure she wants to have sex with Chee before she does so. This is the 11th book by Hillerman and let me say that I have seen ZERO indications that Chee is a womanizer. I'm baffled as to why Janet is staunchly convinced that Jim Chee is a dog. I ALSO don't like how insecure Jim Chee is about Janet. You're going to teach her to be the perfect little Navajo? Now, let's talk about Jim Chee. This is the first book in which Jim Chee has done something mensch-like: he's shown mercy on someone. I won't spoil it, but my heart started to beat faster when it became apparent that Jim Chee was considering being merciful. This is a highly attractive quality in a man and for the first time Jim Chee was making me a little excited. He's not even close to being a mensch yet (although he is a good man) and I'm excited to think he may develop more mensch-like qualities as this series continues. Tl;dr - A solid and rather sweet entry in Hillerman's Navajo Mystery series.
The crime story is typical and yet unique, a good read, and suitably puzzling to the end (at least it was for me). So the ending becomes quite satisfying once the plotlines get resolved.
Hillerman writes primarily about the 4 corners area of the United States and mixes in all kinds of Indian lore. Second Read: A teacher is found dead, a boy is missing, and council woman has put a lot of pressure on Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn and Officer Jim Chee to find her grandson. Without a single clue, Chee and Leaphorn must follow a serpentine trail through the Indian clans and nations, seeking the thread that links two brutal murders, a missing teenager, and band 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 evocative spellbinding best.
This is the book I have been waiting for in the series :) It has Leaphorn and Chee working together!!!!
Here, too, a city-bred Cheyenne makes an appearance and the movie Cheyenne Autumn is briefly described as it might appear thru Navajo eyes. The Navajo has the proper ceremony done to restore himself to harmony with the drought.
This is the third in a long list of both fiction and non-fiction that award-winning Mr. Hillerman created over many years.
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.