Sgt. Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police and the Legendary Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn seek to identify a nameless corpse found on the reservation. I've read and loved all of Hillerman's msyteries and this is no exception.
Slow to start, IMHO, but really picked up speed. The main character is Bernie Manuelito, now of Border Patrol. She and Jim Chee, now 200 miles apart, are both conflicted about their feelings for each other. But the drama centers around drug traffic and some really highly-placed individuals who are driving the traffic.
A nameless murder victim, dispute over who should investigate the crime, a U S Senator, shadow companies, the smell of fraud. Bernadette Manuelito sumbles on a remote ranch and makes the mistake of taking a few snapshots.
THE SINISTER PIG by Tony Hillerman combines all of that you have come to expect from a classic Hillerman mystery. It has it all: murder, intrigue, ominous messages from "The Man," political maneuvering and corruption. And, as usual, it's all set against the sweeping panoramas of the American Southwest.
Chee and Leaphorn are at their very best when a body turns up in their jurisdiction. The pair untangle the deftly woven webs of deceit placed carefully to ensnare the curious while covering up one of the slickest crimes the two have ever encountered. A slick read!
Sixteenth in the Leaphorn/Chee series. Chee is called to the scene of a dead man found shot in a ditch near a gas field. But the FBI take the case, and soon it looks like some sort of cover-up is going on. Meanwhile, Bernadette Manuelito is now with the Border Patrol and runs into some suspicious activity at a ranch, but her boss tries to deflect her.
This is a departure from Hillerman's usual format, as we get the POV from a few of the bad guys, so we know up front who's the villain and what they're doing. The drug-running (this is not a spoiler) and the involvement of the drug cartel is also a crime on a larger stage than Hillerman usually plots. Hillerman also has quite a lot in there about the billions of dollars of oil and gas revenues that were supposed to go to the reservations but are mysteriously missing, but it wasn't really germane to the drug plot.
I also thought the beginning was a little awkward, with the briefing of the soon-to-be-murdered investigator - it's one of those "As you know, Bob" kind of lectures. And I was disappointed that Bernie turns into a stereotypical weeping female at the end. I liked Chee still going his own way and investigating what he thinks needs doing, convincing Cowboy Dashee to go along with him. I also liked that Hillerman is showing that Leaphorn's involvement with the job is getting more remote after his retirement, as you'd expect...he still gets calls, but he has fewer sources. A good book in the series, but not as evocative as the best.
"hillerman blends a clever puzzle, a satifying romance, and the exotic Navajo culture into a highly suspenseful and thoroughly entertaining whole" San Diego Union-Tribune. Another great tale of Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police.