Cover image for Skeleton man
Title:
Skeleton man
Author:
Hillerman, Tony.
Personal Author:
Edition:
Unabridged.
Publication Information:
[New York] : HarperAudio, [2004]

℗2004
Physical Description:
6 audio discs (6 1/2 hr.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Unabridged.

Compact discs.
Language:
English
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780060579074

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Summary

Summary

Tony Hillerman, hailed as "a wonderful storyteller" by the New York Times and a "national and literary cultural sensation" by the Los Angeles Times , is back with another blockbuster novel featuring the legendary Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn and Sergeant Jim Chee.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 who, with his fiance_, decides to help.Proving the kid's innocence requires finding the remains of one of 172 people killed in an epic airline disaster fifty years in the past. That passenger had handcuffed to his wrist an attach_ case filled with a fortune in diamonds -- one of which seems to have turned up in the robbery.But with Hillerman, it can't be that simple. The daughter of that long-dead diamond dealer is also seeking his body. So is an unpleasant fellow willing to kill to make sure she doesn't succeed. It's a race to the finish in a thunderous monsoon to see who will survive, who will be brought to justice, and who will finally unearth the Skeleton Man .Performed by George Guidall


Summary

In the seventeenth novel of Tony Hillerman's celebrated Leaphorn and Chee series, Navajo Tribal Police Sergeant Jim Chee once again teams up with retired Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn to tackle a 50-year-old stolen diamond mystery on the Navajo reservation.


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 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

In MWA Grandmaster Hillerman's sterling 17th Chee/Leaphorn novel, a 1956 collision between passenger planes high above the Grand Canyon leaves a courier's arm and attached diamond-filled security case unaccounted for after almost half a century. Enter retired Navajo Tribal Police Lt. Joe Leaphorn, who must try to connect the dots between an old robbery involving a valuable diamond and a more recent crime involving another diamond, both of which may somehow be related to the plane-crash jewels. The puzzle soon draws in fellow Navajo officer Sgt. Jim Chee and former cop Bernie Manuelito, Chee's soon-to-be bride. Billy Tuve, a cousin of Chee's lawman buddy Cowboy Dashee, is arrested after trying to pawn a gem believed to have come from the more recent robbery. Dashee enlists Chee's help to verify Tuve's story of a mysterious old man who gave him the jewel during a journey to a canyon-bottom shrine. But the good guys soon learn there are plenty more people in the hunt, and some will stop at nothing to get what they're after. The stakes are high and the danger escalates clear through to the final pages. Hillerman continues to shine as the best of the West. Agent, Maureen Walters at Curtis Brown. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Booklist Review

The Skeleton Man, according to Hopi legend, is the Guardian Spirit of the Underworld, the one who takes away mortals' fear of death. In Hillerman's nineteenth Navajo Tribal Police mystery, this ancient belief has special, chilling application to a search for skeletal remains in the Grand Canyon. The novel takes off from an actual plane disaster--the 1956 collision of a United Airlines and a TWA plane over the Grand Canyon. When a small-time criminal tries to pawn a diamond he allegedly discovered on the floor of the Grand Canyon, a series of events (what Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, now retired but still involved, believes are part of the universe's interlocking chains) is triggered, all leaping from a quest for a vast inheritance. The first link in the chain is that the diamond belonged to one of the plane-crash victims, a man who was carrying a fortune in jewels in an attache case handcuffed to his wrist. The victim's arm is central to the quest, since DNA will determine who deserves the inheritance. Hillerman manages to craft both a rip-roaring adventure tale, partially set in the treacherous downward slopes of the Grand Canyon, and a character-driven mystery in which Leaphorn's melancholy over retirement and Bernie Manuelito's uncertainty over her engagement to Sergeant Chee are both believable and involving. Another Hillerman stunner. --Connie Fletcher Copyright 2004 Booklist


Library Journal Review

Lt. Joe Leaphorn comes out of retirement and partners again with Sgt. Jim Chee to solve another tale of greed and murder. Simultaneous with the HarperCollins hardcover. Read by the inimitable George Guidall. (See print review, p. 63.) (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-When two robberies involving magnificent diamonds appear related to a horrific airplane collision that occurred above the Grand Canyon back in 1956, series regular Lieutenant (ret.) Joe Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal Police is brought in to ponder the connections. Though the aging Leaphorn's involvement in the puzzle is mainly cerebral, there is plenty of action for Sergeant Jim Chee and his fiancee, former police officer Bernie Manuelito. The two descend into the canyon's perilous depths in search of an elusive elder who may have found a cache of precious stones gone missing for half a century. Others are prowling the same territory in hopes of locating a gem-filled security case last seen fastened to the wrist of a courier aboard one of the doomed flights. The booty-and the courier's skeletal remains-will establish claims, rightful or otherwise, to an immense fortune, and the seekers are not inclined to cooperate with authorities. Suspense builds as all treasure hunters approach dangerous ground, where they meet for a thrilling climax. Drawing on a real-life airline disaster, Hopi legends, and current forensic science, this is a crackerjack addition to the Chee/Leaphorn mysteries. Fine leisure reading from a master of the form.-Starr E. Smith, Fairfax County Public Library, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Skeleton Man Chapter One Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, retired, had been explaining how the complicated happening below the Salt Woman Shrine illustrated his Navajo belief in universal connections. The cause leads to inevitable effect. The entire cosmos being an infinitely complicated machine all working together. His companions, taking their mid-morning coffee break at the Navajo Inn, didn't interrupt him. But they didn't seem impressed. "I'll admit the half-century gap between the day all those people were killed here and Billy Tuve trying to pawn that diamond for twenty dollars is a problem," Leaphorn said. "But when you really think about it, trace it all back, you see how one thing kept leading to another. The chain's there." Captain Pinto, who now occupied Joe Leaphorn's preretirement office in the Navajo Tribal Police Headquarters, put down his cup. He signaled a refill to the waitress who was listening to this conversation, and waited a polite moment for Leaphorn to explain this if he wished. Leaphorn had nothing to add. He just nodded, sort of agreeing with himself. "Come on, Joe," Pinto said. "I know how that theory works and I buy it. Hard, hot wind blowing gets the birds tired of flying. One too many birds lands on a limb. Limb breaks off, falls into a stream, diverts water flow, undercuts the stream bank, causes a landslide, blocks the stream, floods the valley, changes the flora and that changes the fauna, and the folks who were living off of hunting the deer have to migrate. When you think back you could blame it all on that wind." Pinto stopped, got polite, attentive silence from his fellow coffee drinkers, and decided to add a footnote. "However, you have to do a lot of complicated thinking to work in that Joanna Craig woman. Coming all the way out from New York just because a brain-damaged Hopi tries to pawn a valuable diamond for twenty bucks." Captain Largo, who had driven down from his Shiprock office to attend a conference on the drunk-driving problem, entered the discussion. "Trouble is, Joe, the time gap is just too big to make you a good case. You say it started when the young man with the camera on the United Airlines plane was sort of like the last bird on Pinto's fictional tree limb, so to speak. He mentioned to the stewardess he'd like to get some shots down into the Grand Canyon when they were flying over it. Isn't that the theory? The stewardess mentions that to the pilot, and so he does a little turn out of the cloud they're flying through, and cuts right through the TWA airplane. That was June 30, 1956. All right. I'll buy that much of it. Passenger asks a favor, pilot grants it. Boom. Everybody dead. End of incident. Then this spring, about five decades later, this Hopi fella, Billy Tuve, shows up in a Gallup pawnshop and tries to pawn a twenty-thousand-dollar diamond for twenty bucks. That touches off another series of events, sort of a whole different business. I say it's not just another chapter, it's like a whole new book. Hell, Tuve hadn't even been born yet when that collision happened. Right? And neither had the Craig woman." "Right," said Pinto. "You have a huge gap in that cause-and-effect chain, Joe. And we're just guessing the kid with the camera asked the pilot to turn. Nobody knows why the pilot did that." Leaphorn sighed. "You're thinking about the gap you see in one single connecting chain. I'm thinking of a bunch of different chains which all seem to get drawn together." Largo looked skeptical, shook his head, grinned at Leaphorn. "If you had one of your famous maps here, could you chart that out for us?" "It would look like a spiderweb," Pinto said. Leaphorn ignored that. "Take Joanna Craig's role in this. The fact she wasn't born yet is part of the connection. The crash killed her daddy. From what Craig said, that caused her mama to become a bitter woman and that caused Craig to be bitter, too. Jim Chee told me she wasn't really after those damned diamonds when she came to the canyon. She just wanted to find them so she could get revenge." That produced no comment. "You see how that works," Leaphorn said. "And that's what drew that Bradford Chandler fellow into the case. The skip tracer. He may have been purely after money, but his job was blocking Craig from getting what she was after. That's what sent him down into the canyon. And Cowboy Dashee was down there doing family duty. For Chee, the pull was friendship. And--" Leaphorn stopped, sentence unfinished. Pinto chuckled. "Go on, Joe," he said. "How about Bernie Manuelito? What pulled little Bernie into it?" "It was fun for Bernie," Leaphorn said. "Or love." "You know," said Largo. "I can't get over our little Bernie. I mean, how she managed to get herself out of that mess without getting killed. And another thing that's hard to figure is how you managed to butt in. You're supposed to be retired." "Pinto gets the blame for that," Leaphorn said. "Telling me old Shorty McGinnis had died. See? That's another of the chain I was talking about." "I was just doing you a favor, Joe," Pinto said. "I knew you were getting bored with retirement. Just wanted to give you an excuse to try your hand at detecting again." "Saved your budget some travel money, too," Leaphorn said, grinning. He was remembering that day, remembering how totally out-it-all he'd felt, how happy he'd been driving north in search of the McGinnis diamond--which he'd never thought had actually existed. Now he was thinking about how a disaster buried under a lifetime of dust had risen again and the divergent emotions it had stirred. Greed, obviously, and hatred, plus family duty, a debt owed to a friend. And perhaps, in Bernie Manuelito's case, even love. Skeleton Man . Copyright © by Tony Hillerman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Skeleton Man by Tony Hillerman All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.