Coel writes wonderful mystery novels set in the American West and filled with intriguing Arapaho lore. She is a master at exploring crimes from the past and showing how they could affect the present.
In "The Story Teller," Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden and mission priest Father John O'Malley hunt for a missing ledger book that proves Arapaho were killed along with Cheyenne during the Sand Creek Massacre.
When the Apapaho storyteller discovers that a scacred tribal arifact is missing from a local museum, attorney Vicky Holden is called to investigate. The lost treasure: a one-of-a-kind ledger book and the only eyewitness account of Arapaho history on the plains.
Set in Wyoming on the Arapahoe Indian reservation the central character, an Arapahoe woman who has returned to the reservation, attmepts to recover a lost/stolen ledger journal to the local museum. A good, quick read with cultural and personal conflicts that highlights some of the injustices faced by Native American groups and how it has impacted their past as well as present.
Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden and reservation priest John O'Malley return in their taut fourth adventure (after The Dream Stalker, 1997). This time, they pursue those who will kill to find the missing "ledger book," a record in pictograph of Arapaho presence at an Army massacre of Indians in Colorado. Shortly after the tribe hires Holden to learn why the book apparently disappeared from a Denver museum collection, police find the body of an Arapaho graduate student, Todd Harris. To homicide detectives, Todd's murder looks like a soured drug deal. But Holden, knowing that the student was researching the subject of the ledger book, is convinced that the murder is connected to the book's disappearance. Father John, in Denver to comfort Harris's family, joins Holden in her search for the book. When two friends of Harris are murdered and the house where Holden stays is ransacked, the lawyer and the priest know that their own lives are in danger. All the strengths of this fine series are present here: Coel's knowledge of and respect for western history, a solid mystery with a credible premise in Indian lore and the struggles of Holden and O'Malley with their powerful, but so far unconsummated, attraction to each other. (
In "The Story Teller", author Margaret Coel continues her tales of the Arapahos of the Wind River Reservation (atlhough, in this novel, most of the action occurs in Denver) with emphasis on attorney Vicky Holden and the local Jesuit, Father John O'Malley.
I found the multi-level mystery that made up the plot to be quite engaging. Fr. O'Malley would like to start a small museum on the reservation as a home for artifacts being returned from museums as per US Law. He'd like a local guy, about to graduate with a Masters Degree, to run it. Problem #1 the list of artifacts being returned may be incomplete. Problem #2 the young man mentioned earlier in the paragraph has been found dead ontside the university. The suspects are many in each of the mysteries who WANTED the young man dead, and who actually DID the deed? And how does the missing Arapaho ledger book enter into this mystery if it does, and if it really exists? And, who is next to join the young man in death?
One thing I do not enjoy about series is the romantic tension between the leads. It's not that I can't deal with a little romance I've read plenty of books where it is featured or at least a subplot, and a few in which the demonstration of such love is described in graphic detail. However, it is difficult to maintain a romantic tension in a series for an extended period. Eventually, they either HAVE to get together or HAVE to split apart. The longer this process takes, the more labored it typically seems. Secondly, we are dealing with a lawyer and a priest, for G-d's sake!! We know this CANNOT end well, no matter how it ends the Church really frowns upon that kind of behavior!!
RATING: 4 stars. 5 stars for the mystery, 3 stars for the interplay, average it out ...