June 28th, 2022
Home | Log in!

On Top Shelf
LADY SCOTLADY SCOT
Fresh Pick
WEST SIDE LOVE STORY
WEST SIDE LOVE STORY

New Books This Week

Latest Articles

Video Book Club


Summer reads begin in June!

Slideshow image


Since your web browser does not support JavaScript, here is a non-JavaScript version of the image slideshow:

slideshow image
Two determined souls plumb the dark depths of the past in order to forge a brighter future--together.


slideshow image
"He could see her face. And she couldn’t breathe…"


slideshow image
Can a chance meeting open a grieving heart to love?


slideshow image
When the going gets tough, the tough get their hands dirty.


slideshow image
RUN. HIDE. SEEK.


slideshow image
Channeling Indiana Jones, author Kat Martin pairs a woman in search of her family's truth with a hard-hitting professional treasure hunter!


Excerpt of Skeleton Man by Tony Hillerman

Purchase


Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee Series, #18
HarperTorch
January 2006
Featuring: Joe Leaphorn; Jim Chee
368 pages
ISBN: 006056346X
Paperback (reprint)
Add to Wish List

Mystery Police Procedural

Also by Tony Hillerman:

The Shape Shifter, January 2022
Paperback / e-Book
Skeleton Man, January 2022
Paperback / e-Book
The Wailing Wind, July 2021
Paperback / e-Book
The Sinister Pig, July 2021
Paperback
The Fallen Man, July 2020
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
Sacred Clowns, October 2019
Paperback / e-Book
The Dark Wind, February 2019
Paperback
The Ghostway, February 2019
Paperback
Dance Hall Of The Dead, June 2009
Mass Market Paperback
A Thief Of Time, June 2009
Mass Market Paperback
People Of Darkness, June 2009
Mass Market Paperback
The Shape Shifter, January 2008
Mass Market Paperback
The Blessing Way, January 2007
Hardcover
The Shape Shifter, November 2006
Hardcover
Skeleton Man, January 2006
Paperback (reprint)
Tony Hillerman: Leaphorn, Chee, and More: The Fallen Man, the First Eagle, Hunting Badger, October 2005
Hardcover (reprint)
Dance Hall of the Dead, October 2005
Paperback (reprint)
The Dark Wind, October 2004
Paperback
The Wailing Wind, March 2003
Paperback (reprint)
Sacred Clowns, February 2003
Paperback (reprint)
Seldom Disappointed, October 2002
Trade Size (reprint)
Great Taos Bank Robbery: And Other True Stories of the Southwest, October 2001
Trade Size
Hunting Badger, January 2001
Paperback (reprint)

Excerpt of Skeleton Man by Tony Hillerman

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.

Excerpt from Skeleton Man by Tony Hillerman
All rights reserved by publisher and author

© 2003-2022 off-the-edge.net  all rights reserved Privacy Policy