JLS (jlsjlsjls) wrote,
JLS
jlsjlsjls

Another even-day favourite series

The late Tony Hillerman's Joe Leaphorn/Jim Chee mysteries are unique ... you have to learn a whole new culture to comprehend the whys and wherefores behind the whodunnit/whydunnit. The early volumes feature Joe Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal Police; he later meets and becomes a mentor to younger office Jim Chee (who first appears in "Skinwalkers"). The two sometimes work cases together, sometimes separately, with their two very different perspectives (Leaphorn is a skeptic when it comes to tradition while Chee is training to become a shaman) leading to their sharing information just for the alternate interpretation.

This week Anne Hillerman's first novel, "Spider Woman's Daughter", which continues her father's series, was released so I thought it was a good day to give Hillerman his turn in these posts. From "Listening Woman":
By the relaxed standards of the Navajo Reservation, the first three miles of the road to the hogan of Hosteen Tso were officially listed as "unimproved--passable in dry weather." They led up Short Mountain Wash to the site where the anthropological team was excavating cliff ruins. The road followed the mostly hard-packed sand of the wash bottom, and if one was careful to avoid soft places, offered no particular hazard or discomfort. Leaphorn drove past the ruins a little after midnight. Except for a pickup and a small camping trailer parked in the shade of a cottonwood, there was no sign of life. From there, the road quickly deteriorated from fair, to poor, to bad, to terrible, until it was, in fact, no road at all, merely a track. It left the narrowing wash via a subsidiary arroyo, snaked its way through a half mile of broken shale and emerged on the top of Rainbow Plateau. The landscape became a roadbuilder's nightmare and a geologist's dream. Here, eons ago, the earth's crust had writhed and twisted. Nothing was level. Limestone sediments, great masses of gaudy sandstone, granite outcroppings, and even thick veins of marble had been churned together by some unimaginable paroxysm--then cut and carved and washed away by ten million years of wind, rain, freeze, and thaws. Driving here was a matter of following a faintly marked pathway through a stone obstacle course. It required care, patience, and concentration. Leaphorn found concentration difficult. His head was full of questions. Where was Frederick Lynch? Where was he going? His course northward from his abandoned car would take him near the Tso hogan. Was Theodora Adams's business at the hogan business with Frederick Lynch? That seemed logical--if anything about this odd business made any logic at all. If two white strangers appeared at about the same time in this out-of-the-way corner, one headed for the Tso hogan and the other aimed in that direction, logic insisted that more than coincidence was involved. But why in the name of God would they cross half a continent to meet at one of the most remote and inaccessible spots in the hemisphere?


The novels in the Leaphorn/Chee series, in order, are:
The Blessing Way
Dance Hall of the Dead
Listening Woman
People of Darkness
The Dark Wind
The Ghostway
Skinwalkers
A Thief of Time
Talking God
Coyote Waits
Sacred Clowns
The Fallen Man
The First Eagle
Hunting Badger
The Wailing Wind
The Sinister Pig
Skeleton Man
The Shape Shifter
Tags: bookseries: leaphorn_chee, reading
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