I am among the many fans saddened by author Tony Hillerman’s death on October 26. New York Times reporter Marilyn Stasio wrote: “In the world of mystery fiction, Mr. Hillerman was that rare figure: a best-selling author who was adored by fans, admired by fellow authors and respected by critics.”
Tony Hillerman’s series about Navajo tribal policemen Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee is rich storytelling. Leaphorn and Chee are fully developed characters loved by readers. A strong third character is present in every book, too, and that's place. Mr. Hillerman captured so well the vivid culture and magnificent landscape of the Four Corners region.
The author’s eye for detail was no doubt honed during his years in the newspaper business. His sensitive and authentic treatment of Native American culture won him accolades and respect from their communities.
Tony Hillerman said his stories were “about morals,” universal themes that never get old. You can read his earlier works and never get the sense that it’s dated. If you haven’t read any Tony Hillerman, I hope you will.
The Shape Shifter