Cover image for The lost bird
The lost bird
Coel, Margaret, 1937-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Berkley Prime Crime, 1999.
Physical Description:
294 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
FICTION Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

On Order



After the murder of an elderly priest, Father John thinks the bullet was meant for him. Consumed with anger and guilt, he is determined to find the murderer--even if he risks his life. From the bestselling author of The Story Teller.

Author Notes

Margaret Coel was born in Colorado in 1937. She attended Marquette University and was a historian before becoming a full-time writer. She is best known for her Wind River series featuring Jesuit priest Father John O'Malley and Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden. She won the Colorado Book Award for the novels Eye of the Wolf, The Spirit Woman, The Shadow Dancer, and Wife of Moon. The Spirit Woman also received the Willa Cather Award for best novel of the West. She is also the author of several non-fiction works including the award-winning Chief Left Hand. Her articles on the West have appeared in numerous publications including the New York Times and the Christian Science Monitor.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Sharon David, a Native American actress, arrives on the Arapaho Wind River Reservation in Wyoming determined to find her biological parents. She hires attorney Vicki Holden to help her do so. Meanwhile, Father Joseph Keenan, assistant to Father John O'Malley, is killed while driving Father John's car. Determined to find the murderer, Father John launches an investigation, eventually joining forces with Holden when a link between the actress and Father Joseph is established. Coel's latest is among the best mysteries of the year. Coel has a rare gift for portraying engaging, realistic characters, devising a difficult puzzle, and pacing everything at a brisk, nail-biting canter. She writes vividly about western landscapes and Native American customs, and best of all, she gives her characters--representing different worldviews--plenty of room to play off one another as they stumble toward the truth. Holden, in particular, has developed into a much more complex and satisfying individual, balancing Native American and white cultures with earnestness and dry humor. Coel is clearly at the top of her game. --John Rowen

Publisher's Weekly Review

Fr. John O'Malley and attorney Vicky Holden solve a mystery and wrestle with their mutualÄand forbiddenÄattraction in another suspenseful outing (after The Story Teller, 1998). When his elderly assistant is killed on a back road on the Wind River Arapaho Reservation in Wyoming, Father John assumes that he himself was the target, since the dead man was driving his truck and had just stepped out of it when he was shot. Soon, however, he learns that the frail old priest, who once held Father John's current post as head of the St. Francis Mission, came back to the reservation to expose a long-buried crime against the Arapaho people. When Holden, an Arapaho lawyer, hears that a priest has been murdered, she fears the worst, since Sonny Red Wolf, an angry Indian separatist, has often vowed to drive Father John off the reservation. After Holden finds Father John alive, she embarks on her own investigation of the murder. Meanwhile, movie star Sharon David hires Holden to trace her true lineage; she is convinced she was born to Arapaho parents on the reservation and given away for adoption. Holden repeats the local legendÄthat many Arapaho babies died of a mysterious sickness around the time of Sharon David's birth, so no Arapaho would let a baby go. Probing, however, she uncovers a plot involving a clinic and a famous pediatrician, while Father John, converging on the same plot, confronts the killer. Like many mystery writers working on Native American ground, Coel knows that the gaps between cultures are fertile ground for suspense. She also develops solid characters and a keen sense of place that keep this tale humming. Author tour. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In the tradition of Tony Hillerman and Jean Hager, Coel sets her heartwarming mystery series (The Ghost Walker) on the Wind River Arapaho Reservation in Wyoming and peoples it with caring but troubled and endearing characters. Father John O'Malley of St. Francis Mission has a few skeletons in his closet; a recovering alcoholic who experienced a passionate love for his high school sweetheart, Ellen, back in Boston, he now worries about the attraction he and Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden feel for each other. Vicky's feelings for Father John become unmistakable when Father Joseph Keenan, the elderly philosopher-priest assigned to St. Francis, is found murdered by a bullet obviously intended for Father John. Simultaneously, she must grapple with the arrival of Sharon David, a movie star convinced that she was adopted at birth from the reservation. For fans of Western mysteries, this is a sure bet. Recommended.ÄSusan A. Zappia, Maricopa Cty. Lib. Dist., Phoenix (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.