Cover image for Talking mysteries : a conversation with Tony Hillerman
Talking mysteries : a conversation with Tony Hillerman
Hillerman, Tony.
Personal Author:
First paperback edition.
Publication Information:
Albuquerque : University of New Mexico Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
137 pages : illustrations, map ; 21 cm
General Note:
"Most of the material in this book appeared in a substantially different arrangement as Words, weather, and wolfmen : conversations with Tony Hillerman, c1989"--T.p. verso.
Personal Subject:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3558.I45 Z476 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



In Talking Mysteries, Tony Hillerman discusses his craft, including his approach to plot, characterization, and setting, and the wrinkles and twists that make his brand of fiction unique. These and other insights into how he writes emerge in an extended interview with his long-time friend and fellow author Ernie Bulow. An autobiographical piece by Hillerman details his early years in Oklahoma, first encounters with Navajo culture, and his eventual life as journalist and author.

Navajo artist Ernest Franklin created twelve sketches of Hillerman characters for this book. Hillerman credits Franklin with "showing me what Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn look like." As an additional treat, a Jim Chee mini-mystery, "The Witch, Yazzie, and the Nine of Clubs," originally published in 1981 and long unavailable, is included.

Author Notes

Tony Hillerman was born in Sacred Heart, Oklahoma on May 27, 1925. During World War II, he enlisted in the Army and was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart after being severely injured during a raid behind German lines. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1948.

From 1948 to 1962, he covered crime and politics for newspapers in Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico, eventually working his way up to the position of editor of the Santa Fe New Mexican. He taught at the University of Mexico and went on to chair the journalism department for more than 20 years. He retired in 1985.

His first novel, The Blessing Way, was published in 1971. During his lifetime, he wrote 29 books, including the popular 18-book mystery series featuring Navajo police officers Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, two non-series novels, two children's books, and nonfiction works. He received numerous awards during his lifetime including the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Mystery Novel for Dance Hall of the Dead in 1974, the Western Writers of America's Golden Spur Award for Skinwalkers in 1987, the Mystery Writers of America's Grand Master Award in 1991, the Navajo tribe's Special Friend Award, France 's Grand Prix de Litterature Policiere, the 2002 Malice Domestic Lifetime Achievement Award, the Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction Book for Seldom Disappointed, and the Wister Award for Lifetime achievement in 2008. He died from pulmonary failure on October 26, 2008 at the age of 83.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Originally self-published in somewhat different form as Words, Weather, and Wolfmen (1989), Talking Mysteries: A Conversation with Tony Hillerman, by Tony Hillerman and Ernie Bulow, will delight all fans of the creator of Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn. A map of Hillerman country, illustrations by Ernest Franklin and a series of photos of Hillerman at work (or is he just playing solitaire?) lend visual appeal. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Ernie BulowTony HillermanErnie BulowTony HillermanErnest FranklinTony Hillerman
Map: Hillerman's Territoryp. 8
Introductionp. 11
Mystery, Country Boys, and the Big Reservationp. 23
A Conversation with Tony Hillermanp. 45
The Witch, Yazzie, and the Nine of Clubsp. 93
Biographiesp. 111
Drawingsp. 124
Afterwordp. 137