Both Leaphorn and Chee are in Washington, DC for most of this novel, which makes it a bit different from others I've read by the author. The plot is complex and engaging.
The novel features a look at Navajo ceremonials, a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the Smithsonian, some insights into the bones-and-stones argument between anthropologists and Indians, a villainous villain, lots of good old fashioned murder and mayhem, a bit of international intrigue, and a riproaring climax as the two Navajos solve the mystery while the FBI, as usual, stands around in a fog.
We're reading quite a few of Hillerman's books. All are good, but this one is more exciting than some, and it was hard to put down.
There are three things one can expect from a Hillerman mystery: a story that would make no sense without its rock-solid base of Navaho culture; a tale that moves within the rhythms of real time; and an intricate plot that calls for the particular skills of his two detectives, Jim Chee, shaman and officer of the Navaho Tribal Police, and Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, older, slower, and wiser. Talking God has all of these things in a plot that absolutely defies summary. Leaphorn and Chee track different paths for different crimes and both end up in the wilds of Washington, D.C., ostensibly on vacation. Instead of the sweet scent of the Southwest, Hillerman has a good time pitting his detectives against the "City of Navy Blue Suits." Welcome as a returning presence is winsome Navaho attorney Janet Pete, who contributes both to the structure of the mystery and to Chee's emotional disharmony.
Here he sets Navajo Tribal Police Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn and Officer Jim Chee in Washington, D.C., as each uses vacation time to follow separate cases that will connect in a clash of violence at the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of Natural History. Chee has come at the request of Janet Pete, a Navajo lawyer with a case that involves a ceremonial mask of Yeibichai, or Talking God, maternal grandfather of all the other Navajo gods, and a museum curator named Henry Highhawk, who claims Navajo ancestry and wants to be included on tribal rolls. Leaphorn's interest rises from a puzzling homicide case--an unidentified corpse found near Gallup, N.M., with a note mentioning a pending Yeibichai ceremony. Just as Leaphorn's tenacity reveals the dead man was a leftist Chilean terrorist, Highhawk is killed (in a spooky late-night scene in the Museum) and the pivotal role of the Talking God mask comes into play. Leaphorn's grief over the recent death of his wife, Chee's sorrow at the end of an impossible love affair, both men's sense of alienation in the capital city's urban sophistication suffuse this slim, somewhat contrived, tale with palpable melancholy.
another great story with jim chee as main character. a must read for all tony hillerman and jim chee fans.
Leaphorn and Chee team up in the last part of this book, which doesn't take place on the reservation this time.
Read 8/15/98 I guess this is the quintessential summer book. I read it on a five-hour flight to LA, plus three-hour wait for takeoff. It was diverting. On page 329 character Jim Chee is reading Michael Dorris Yellow Raft on Blue Water. Id rather have been reading that, too. Jim Chee is a Navajo Tribal Policeman. So is Joe Leaphorn, they come at a murder investigation, conspiracy, and faked aboriginal art from different angles, but wind up with the same suspects. In future, Ill stick with Dorris and Erdrich and leave Hillerman to the bestseller lists.
Talking God Tony Hillerman One of my favorite authors. This book is great just like the other Hillerman books I have read. A sick women named Agnes Tsosie is dying. A mystical ceremony called âThe Night Chantâ is to be performed. Yeibichai, The Navajo âTalking Godâ of Navajo physics and the grandfather of all the other Gods and the other Gods spokesman is involved. A man is found murdered on the reservation. Joe Leaphorn must find out why and how. Tribal policeman Jim Chee is sent out to arrest Henry Highhawke, a conservator for the Smithsonian for digging up gravesites. This book is shrouded in mystery and it ends up in the unlikely place of Washington DC. Grade 4/5
re-read again - enjoyed just as much as 1st time around
Great read, lots of information, fascinating characters and a wonderful southwestern setting.
Hillerman's standard - murder mystery on the reservation. But layer after laye of events, person after person, pursuers, grave diggers, superstitions, play into the mystery.
Hillerman is always good.
A grave robber and a corpse reunite Navajo Tribal Police Lt. Joe Leaphorn and Officer Jim Chee. As Leaphorn seeks the identity of a murder victim, Chee is arresting Smithsonian conservator Henry Highhawk for ransacking the sacred bones of his ancestors.
A grave robber and a corpse reunite Navajo TGribal Police Lt. Joe Leaphorn and Officer Jim Chee.
A grave robber and a corpse reunite Navajo Tribal Police Lt. Joe Leaphorn and Oficer Jim Chee. As Leaphorn seeks the identity of a murder victim, Chee is arresting Smithsonian conservator Henry Highhawk for ransacking the sacred bones of his ancestors. As the layers of each case are peeled away it becomes shockingly clear that they are connected, that there are mysterious others pursuing Highhawk, and that Leaphorn and Chee have entered into the dangerous arena of superstition, ancient ceremony and living gods.
I enjoy all of Tony Hillerman's books and get a lot from his explanations regarding the customs and traditions.
The cover on the book is different than the one pictured.
Navajo Tribal Police Lt. Joe Leaphorn and Officer Jim Chee seek a grave robber who have disturbed the Gods of the grave sites.