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In The best American Mystery Stories of the Century, best-selling author Tony Hillerman and mystery expert Otto Penzler present an unparalleled treasury of American suspense fiction that every fan will cherish. Offering the finest examples from all reaches of the genre, this collection charts the mystery's eminent history from the turn-of-the-century puzzles of Futrelle, to the seminal pulp fiction of Hammett and Chandler, to the mystery story's rise to legitimacy in the popular mind, a trend that has benefited masterly writers like Westlake, Hunter, and Grafton. Nowhere else can readers find a more thorough, more engaging, more essential distillation of American crime fiction. Penzler, Best American Mystery Stories series editor, and Hillerman, whose Leaphorn/Chee novels have won him multiple Edgar Awards and millions of devotees, winnowed this select group out of a thousand stories, drawing on sources as diverse as Ellery Queens Mystery Magazine and Esquire, Collier's and The New Yorker. Giants of the genre abound - Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Lawrence Block, Ellery Queen, Sara Paretsky, and others - but the editors also unearthed gems by luminaries rarely found in suspense anthologies: William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, Damon Runyon, Harlan Ellison, James Thurber, and Joyce Carol Oates. Mystery buffs and newcomers alike will delight in the thrilling stories and top-notch writing of a hundred years' worth of the finest suspense, crime, and mystery writing.
Homicide is always an abomination, but there is something exceptionally disturbing about the victim discovered in a high lonely place, a corpse with a mouth full of sand, abandoned at a crime scene seemingly devoid of tracks or useful clues. Though it goes against his better judgment, Navajo Tribal Police Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn cannot help but suspect the hand of a supernatural killer. There is palpable evil in the air, and Leaphorn's pursuit of a Wolf-Witch is leading him where even the bravest men fear, on a chilling trail that winds perilously between mysticism and murder.
A Zuni myth first recorded a century ago.
The car fire didn't kill Navajo Tribal Policeman Delbert Nez--a bullet did. And the old man in possession of the murder weapon is a whiskey-soaked shaman named Ashie Pinto. Officer Jim Chee is devastated by the slaying of his good friend Del, and confounded by the prime suspect's refusal to utter a single word of confession or denial. Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn believes there is much more to this outrage than what appears on the surface, as he and Jim Chee set out to unravel a complex weave of greed and death that involves a historical find and a lost fortune. But the hungry and mythical trickster Coyote is waiting, as always, in the shadows to add a strange and deadly new twist.
Two Native-American boys have vanished into thin air, leaving a pool of blood behind them. Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal Police has no choice but to suspect the very worst, since the blood that stains the parched New Mexican ground once flowed through the veins of one of the missing, a young ZuÑi. But his investigation into a terrible crime is being complicated by an important archaeological dig . . . and a steel hypodermic needle. And the unique laws and sacred religious rites of the ZuÑi people are throwing impassable roadblocks in Leaphorn's already twisted path, enabling a craven murderer to elude justice or, worse still, to kill again.
A corpse whose palms and soles have been "scalped" is only the first in a series of disturbing clues: an airplane's mysterious crash in the nighttime desert, a bizarre attack on a windmill, a vanishing shipment of cocaine. Sgt. Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police is trapped in the deadly web of a cunningly spun plot driven by Navajo sorcery and white man's greed.
Human bones lie on a ledge under the peak of Ship Rock mountain, the remains of a murder victim undisturbed for more than a decade. Three hundred miles across the Navajo reservation, a harmless old canyon guide is felled by a sniper's bullet. Joe Leaphorn, recently retired from the Navajo Tribal Police, believes the shooter and the skeleton are somehow connected and recalls a chilling puzzle he was previously unable to solve. But Acting Lieutenant Jim Chee is too busy to take an interest in a dusty cold case ... until the reborn violence of it hits much too close to home.
Tony Hillerman's bestselling Navajo mysteries have thrilled millions of readers with their taut, intricate plotting, sensitive, subtle characterizations and lyrical evocations of landscapes and cultures. Now he departs his trademark terrain and applies his talents to a story he has wanted to tell for decades about an ordinary man thrust into total chaos. Until the telephone call came for him on April 12, 1975, the world of Moon Mathias had settled into a predictable routine. He knew who he was. He was the disappointing son of Victoria Mathias, the brother of the brilliant, recently dead Ricky Mathias and a man who could be counted on to solve small problems. But the telephone caller was an airport security officer, and the news he delivered handed Moon a problem as large as Southeast Asia. His mother, who should be in her Florida apartment, is fighting for her life in a Los Angeles hospital -- stricken while en route to the Philippines to bring home a grandchild they hadn't known existed. The papers in her purse send Moon into a world totally strange to him. They lure him down the back streets of Manila, to a rural cockfight, into the odd Filipino prison on Palawan Island and finally across the South China Sea to where Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge is turning Cambodia into killing fields and Communist rockets are beginning to fall on the outskirts of Saigon. Finding Moon is many things: a latter-day adventure epic, a deftly orchestrated romance, an arresting portrait of an exotic realm engulfed in turmoil, and a neatly turned tale of suspense. Most of all, it is a singular story of how a plain, uncertain man finds his best self.
When Acting Lt. Jim Chee catches a Hopi poacher huddled over a butchered Navajo Tribal police officer, he has an open-and-shut case--until his former boss, Joe Leaphorn, blows it wide open. Now retired from the Navajo Tribal Police, Leaphorn has been hired to find a hot-headed female biologist hunting for the key to a virulent plague lurking in the Southwest. The scientist disappeared from the same area the same day the Navajo cop was murdered. Is she a suspect or another victim? And what about a report that a skinwalker--a Navajo witch--was seen at the same time and place too? For Leaphorn and Chee, the answers lie buried in a complicated knot of superstition and science, in a place where the worlds of native peoples and outside forces converge and collide.
Ace reporter John Cotton is a fly on the wall -- seeing all, hearing all, and keeping out of sight. But the game changes when he finds his best friend's corpse sprawled on the marble floor of the central rotunda of the U.S. Capitol. Suddenly Cotton knows too much about a scandal centered around a senatorial candidate, a million-dollar scam, and a murder. And he hears the pursuing footsteps of powerful people who have something to hide ... and a willingness to kill to keep their secrets hidden.
Old Joseph Joe sees it all. Two strangers spill blood at the Shiprock Wash-O-Mat. One dies. The other drives off into the dry lands of the Big Reservation, but not before he shows the old Navajo a photo of the man he seeks. This is all Tribal Policeman Jim Chee needs to set him off on an odyssey that moves from a trapped ghost in an Indian hogan to the seedy underbelly of L.A. to an ancient healing ceremony where death is the cure, and into the dark heart of murder and revenge.
Three men raid the gambling casino run by the Ute nation and then disappear into the maze of canyons on the Utah-Arizona border. When the FBI, with its helicopters and high-tech equipment, focuses on a wounded deputy sheriff as a possible suspect, Navajo Tribal Police Sergeant Jim Chee and his longtime colleague, retired Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, launch an investigation of their own. Chee sees a dangerous flaw in the federal theory; Leaphorn sees intriguing connections to the exploits of a legendary Ute bandit-hero. And together, they find themselves caught up in the most perplexing -- and deadly -- criminal manhunt of their lives.
The state police and FBI are baffled when an old man and a teenage girl are brutally murdered. The blind Navajo Listening Woman speaks of ghosts and of witches. But Lieutenant Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal Police knows his people as well as he knows cold-blooded killers. His incredible investigation carries him from a dead man's secret to a kidnap scheme, to a conspiracy that stretches back more than one hundred years. Leaphorn arrives at the threshold of a solution-and is greeted with the most violent confrontation of his career.
Twenty seven stories showing the advance and changes in the mystery story and crime genre since Dorothy Sayers's Omnibus of Crime seventy five years ago.
A dying man is murdered. A rich man's wife agrees to pay three thousand dollars for the return of a stolen box of rocks. A series of odd, inexplicable events is haunting Sergeant Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police and drawing him alone into the Bad Country of the merciless Southwest, where nothing good can survive . . . including Chee. Because an assassin waits for him there, protecting a thirty-year-old vision that greed has sired and blood has nourished. And only one man will walk away.
During a kachina ceremony at the Tano Pueblo, the antics of a dancing koshare fill the air with tension. Moments later, the clown is found bludgeoned to death, in the same manner a reservation schoolteacher was killed only days before. Officer Jim Chee and Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn believe that answers lie in the sacred clown's final cryptic message to the Tano people. But to decipher it, the two Navajo policemen may have to delve into closely guarded tribal secrets--on a sinister trail of blood that links a runaway, a holy artifact, corrupt Indian traders, and a pair of dead bodies.
When Tony Hillerman looks back at seventy-six years spent getting from hardtimes farm boy to bestselling author, he sees lots of evidence that Providence was poking him along. For example, when an absentminded Army clerk left him off the hospital ship taking the wounded home from France, the mishap put him on a collision course with a curing ceremony held for two Navajo Marines, thereby providing the grist for a writing career that now sees his books published in sixteen languages around the world and often on bestseller lists. Or, for example, when his agent told him his first novel was so bad that it would hurt both of their reputations, he nonetheless sent it to an editor, and that editor happened to like the Navajo stuff. In this wry and whimsical memoir, Hillerman offers frequent backward glances at where he found ideas for plots of his books and the characters that inhabit them. He takes us with him to death row, where he interviews a man about to die in the gas chamber and details how this murderer became Colton Wolf in one of his novels. He relates how flushing a solitary heron from a sandbar caused him to convert Joe Leaphorn from husband to widower, and how his self-confessed bias against the social elite solved the key plot problem in A Thief of Time. No child abuse stories here: The worst Hillerman can recall is being sent off to first grade (in a boarding school for Indian girls) clad in cute blue coveralls instead of the manly overalls his farm-boy peers all wore. Instead we get a good-natured trip through hard times in college; an infantry career in which he "rose twice to Private First Class" and also won a Silver Star, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart; and, afterward, work as a truck driver, chain dragger, journalist, professor, and "doer of undignified deeds" for two university presidents. All this is colored by a love affair (now in its fifty-fourth year) with Marie, which involved raising six children, most of them adopted. Using the gifts of a talented novelist and reporter, seventy-six-year-old Tony Hillerman draws a brilliant portrait not just of his life but of the world around him.
This landmark anthology chronicles more than 500 years of Pueblo culture. Lavishly designed in five colors, this eminently readable volume offers a story and mood for everyone and an authentic introduction to the cultural legacy of the ancient peoples of the Southwest.
Retirement has never sat well with former Navajo Tribal Police Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn. Now the ghosts of a still-unsolved case are returning to haunt him, reawakened by a photograph in a magazine spread of a one-of-a-kind Navajo rug, a priceless work of woven art that was supposedly destroyed in a suspicious fire many years earlier. The rug, commemorating one of the darkest and most terrible chapters in American history, was always said to be cursed, and now the friend who brought it to Leaphorn's attention has mysteriously gone missing. With newly wedded officers Jim Chee and Bernie Manuelito just back from their honeymoon, the legendary ex-lawman is on his own to pick up the threads of a crime he'd once thought impossible to untangle. And they're leading him back into a world of lethal greed, shifting truths, and changing faces, where a cold-blooded killer still resides.
The victim, well dressed but stripped of identification, is found at the edge of the vast Jicarilla Apache natural gas field just inside the jurisdiction of the Navajo Tribal Police, facing Sergeant Jim Chee with a complex puzzle. Why did the Washington office of the FBI snatch custody of this case from its local agents, cover it with secrecy, and call it a hunting accident? What was the victim seeking among the maze of pipelines and pumping stations in America's largest gas field? Was he investigating the embezzlement of billions of dollars from the Indian Tribal royalty trust in the Department of the Interior? On a level nearer to Chee's heart, did the photographs Bernie Manuelito took on an exotic game ranch near the Mexican border reveal something connected with this crime? Did Bernie, once a member of Chee's squad but now a rookie Border Patrol Officer, put herself in terrible danger? Tony Hillerman leads his readers through another of his intricate plots to the solution of this crime, with a cast of vivid characters: a Washington political mogul and his more-or-less renegade pilot; a customs official who bends the rules; a Mexican smuggler with a conscience; and, finally, "Legendary Lieutenant" Joe Leaphorn, now retired, who connects the lines on a dusty old map to find the answers -- and the Sinister Pig -- among the great scimitar-horned oryx grazing on the historic Tuttle Ranch.
Hailed as "a wonderful storyteller" by the New York Times, and a "national and literary cultural sensation" by the Los Angeles Times, bestselling author Tony Hillerman is back with another blockbuster novel featuring the legendary Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn and Sergeant Jim Chee. Former Navajo Tribal Police Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn comes out of retirement to help investigate what seems to be a trading post robbery. A simple-minded kid nailed for the crime is the cousin of an old colleague of Sergeant Jim Chee. He needs help and Chee, and his fiancÉe Bernie Manuelito, decide to provide it. Proving the kid's innocence requires finding the remains of one of 172 people whose bodies were scattered among the cliffs of the Grand Canyon in an epic airline disaster 50 years in the past. That passenger had handcuffed to his wrist an attachÉ case filled with a fortune in-one of which seems to have turned up in the robbery. But with Hillerman, it can't be that simple. The daughter of the long-dead diamond dealer is also seeking his body. So is a most unpleasant fellow willing to kill to make sure she doesn't succeed. These two tense tales collide deep in the canyon at the place where an old man died trying to build a cult reviving reverence for the Hopi guardian of the Underworld. It's a race to the finish in a thunderous monsoon storm to see who will survive, who will be brought to justice, and who will finally unearth the Skeleton Man.
Three shotgun blasts explode into the trailer of Officer Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police. But Chee survives to join partner Lt. Joe Leaphorn in a frightening investigation that takes them into a dark world of ritual, witchcraft, and blood-all tied to the elusive and evil "skinwalker." Brimming with Navajo lore and sizzling suspense, Skinwalkers brings Chee and Leaphorn, Hillerman's bestselling detective team, together for the first time.
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. 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.
At a moonlit Indian ruin-where "thieves of time" ravage sacred ground in the name of profit-a noted anthropologist vanishes while on the verge of making a startling, history-altering discovery. At an ancient burial site, amid stolen goods and desecrated bones, two corpses are discovered, shot by bullets fitting the gun of the missing scientist. There are modern mysteries buried in despoiled ancient places. And as blood flows all too freely, Navajo Tribal Policemen Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee must plunge into the past to unearth an astonishing truth and a cold-hearted killer.
To Officer Bernadette Manuelito, the man curled up on the truck seat was just another drunk-which got Bernie in trouble for mishandling a crime scene-which got Sergeant Jim Chee in trouble with the FBI-which drew Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn out of retirement and back into the old "Golden Calf" homicide, a case he had hoped to forget.Nothing had seemed complicated about that earlier one. A con game had gone sour. A swindler had tried to sell wealthy old Wiley Denton the location of one of the West's multitude of legendary lost gold mines. Denton had shot the swindler, called the police, confessed the homicide, and done his short prison time. No mystery there.Except why did the rich man's bride vanish? The cynics said she was part of the swindle plot. She'd fled when it failed. But, alas, old Joe Leaphorn was a romantic. He believed in love, and thus the Golden Calf case still troubled him. Now, papers found in this new homicide case connect the victim to Denton and to the mythical Golden Calf Mine. The first Golden Calf victim had been there just hours before Denton killed him. And while Denton was killing him, four children trespassing among the rows of empty bunkers in the long-abandoned Wingate Ordnance Depot called in an odd report to the police. They had heard, in the wind wailing around the old buildings, what sounded like music and the cries of a woman.Bernie Manuelito uses her knowledge of Navajo country, its tribal traditions, and her friendship with a famous old medicine man to unravel the first knot of this puzzle, with Jim Chee putting aside his distaste of the FBI to help her. But the questions raised by this second Golden Calf murder aren't answered until Leaphorn solves the puzzle left by the first one and discovers what the young trespassers heard in the wailing wind.
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