Review

Skeleton Man

by Tony Hillerman



The grand old man of American mystery writing, Tony Hillerman,
brings our old friend Joe Leaphorn out of retirement to help his
one-time protégé, Jim Chee, solve a half-century old
mystery.

When Billy Tuve, a local Hopi who is acknowledged to be somewhat
brain damaged and irresponsible, tries to pawn a magnificent, near
perfect diamond, the finger of suspicion is pointed directly at him
in connection with a recent robbery. Jim Chee is on the case with
some reservations as to Billy's guilt, but the source of the
diamond is unclear to all, even Billy Tuve. He swears he got it
from an old man in a cave deep in the Grand Canyon, an explanation
that does not wash with local authorities.

The arrival of a woman from New York, in search of clues
surrounding the loss of her father fifty years earlier in the
infamous collision of two jetliners over the Grand Canyon, piques
the curiosity of the savvy Leaphorn who sees a connection between
the two events. Long forgotten rumors that there was an
attaché case containing diamonds on one of the planes
resurface, and Leaphorn believes that diamond to be part of the
collection.

Jim Chee has at last found the girl he wants to marry after several
missed opportunities in prior books. Bernadette Manuelito is a
reservation police officer who works the case with him, and tracks
the good guys and bad guys down the forbidden Hopi trail.

This intriguing tale of greed, search and rescue, and deeper
exploration into Hopi tribal rituals is a welcome return of Chee
and Leaphorn, two of American mystery series' favorite and more
exotic detectives.

Despite his frail health and advancing years, Hillerman has not
lost his touch as he weaves the Indian lore, Hopi Salt Woman
rituals, exotic flora and fauna of the Grand Canyon, and recent
history into an intricate tale of cat and mouse during a desert
monsoon storm deep within the canyon walls. He calls upon a team of
researchers in Grand Canyon geology, ethnologists and historians to
present a faithfully executed story that has earned him the
decades-old respect of Indian scholars and mystery aficionados he
so richly deserves.

Reviewed by Roz Shea on January 23, 2011

Skeleton Man
by Tony Hillerman

  • Publication Date: November 23, 2004
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • ISBN-10: 0060563443
  • ISBN-13: 9780060563448