HarperCollins, 2004 (2004)
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by G. Hall
ony Hillerman's legions of fans will be thrilled to read his latest mystery about the Navajo police team of Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee. Although
is not the strongest in the series, the southwestern setting and Native American lore always appeal. Those of us not fortunate to live within the Four Corners area of the American Southwest, can vicariously enjoy Hillerman's descriptions of constantly changing clouds over the Chuska Mountains and the brilliant palette of colors of the canyon walls.
his time, retired Joe Leaphorn and Sergeant Jim Chee are brought together to help an old police friend clear his simple-minded cousin, Billy Tuve, of robbery charges. The boy, picked up with a diamond allegedly stolen from a trading post, tells a complicated story about receiving it in trade from a mysterious old man down in the Grand Canyon. In
, Hillerman weaves a complex plot that keeps the reader on her toes. It involves the true life 1956 collision of two airplanes over the Grand Canyon - which killed all aboard and dumped bodies and luggage into the depths of the canyon.
fter Tuve tells his strange story, a full cast of characters surfaces looking for diamonds. Middle-aged Joanna Craig seeks the body of her father, a diamond courier on the plane, in order to claim an inheritance. Other players have more nefarious goals. Leaphorn, Chee and Chee's fiancée, Bernie Manuelito, team together to search for the source of the diamonds and to clear Tuve's name. The book climaxes as they descend into the canyon, along with several more criminally minded characters, and get caught in the midst of a severe thunderstorm and flash flood.
's plot is a bit convoluted, it is a pleasure to enjoy the Grand Canyon from our armchairs, and also to learn about the
of Hopi lore, who taught his people not to fear death. And long time series fans will be happy to know that the romantically long-suffering Jim Chee has finally found the right woman.
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