Night of the White Buffalo: A Wind River Mystery
Berkley, 2014 (2014)
Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth
ather John O'Malley, a priest with a drinking problem, serves parishioners at a remote mission on the Arapaho reservation. A penitent confesses to murder in the confessional and disappears. Two months later, a buffalo rancher is found shot to death in his truck along a highway.
he rancher and his wife had been trying to make a go of their ranch but found paying their help almost impossible. The wranglers seemed to have packed up and left when no money was forthcoming. Six men have disappeared from that ranch. The murdered rancher's wife is keeping the ranch running but with great difficulty. Money is tight – very tight.
ne night a miracle happens. A white buffalo calf is born! To the Arapaho, a white buffalo calf is extremely sacred and the rancher's wife begins to see the benefits of having the oddity on her ranch. People are visiting the ranch to see the calf. Thousands of people. They leave contributions behind to help in the care of the calf, and to help with the swelling crowds, to repair fences and rent porta-potties. A true bonanza. But who could have killed her husband?
argaret Coel, author of
The Night of the White Buffalo
, is considered an expert on the Arapaho Indians. Originally a historian by trade, her
series featuring Father John O'Malley, now numbers eighteen! Father O'Malley is assisted by Vicky Holden, a tribe member who is a lawyer working for her people but who lives outside the reservation. The late Tony Hillerman, who is well-known for his wonderful mysteries about the Navajo Indians, said '
Coel is a master.
' High praise, indeed.
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