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The Wailing Wind by Tony Hillerman
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The Wailing Wind (2002)

by Tony Hillerman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Leaphorn/Chee (15), Jim Chee (12)

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1,495137,796 (3.73)77
Nothing had seemed complicated about the old "Golden Calf" case. A con game had gone sour. Wealthy old Wiley Denton had shot the swindler, called the police, confessed, and done his short prison time. No mystery there, except why did the rich man's bride vanish? And now, papers found by Sergeant Jim Chee and Officer Bernie Manuelito in a new homicide case connect the victim to Denton and to the mythical Golden Calf Mine.… (more)
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English (12)  French (1)  All languages (13)
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
This Tony Hillerman story was written with a thin plot that wandered from the theme of The Wailing Wind, not what I expect from Hillerman’s Navajo detective series. The backstory was skilfully interwoven with the present developments in a cold case, but Hillerman’s descriptions of the landscape and traditional Navajo ways appeared as if by rote, which lacked its usual liveliness. My major disappointment was Leaphorn’s unthinking behaviour in revealing too much to the bad guy, Wiley Denton . This was out of character for a well-established personality in these tales.

Bernie’s budding romance with Chee takes off in this narrative. This is a pleasant development after the ill-suited attraction to Mary Landon and the incompatible Janet Pete. The scenes where Bernie is sleuthing for the right plant habitat (and hence finding the scene of the original murder ) was an especially excellent part of the story. Overall, the book, for me, was only OK because I like a tight plot to match the theme and I want the protagonist to stay level-headed, even if retired. Recommended if you enjoy following the continuing adventures of Chee and Bernie. ( )
  SandyAMcPherson | Sep 5, 2019 |
A quick read, enjoyable but without any deep meanings. ( )
  juniperSun | Aug 25, 2019 |
I finished reading [Wailing Wind] by [[Tony Hillerman]]. This is the twelveth novel in this series and the quality of this series has not diminished one bit. There is so much in this novel about the religious differences between the Hopi, Zuni, and Navajo. I think the addition of Louisa and Bernadette has allowed Hillerman to put more of these bits into the novel. Bernadette's concern about the taboos on touching a dead body and the consequences of doing so for her and her family add to the mystery. If nothing else these novels have pointed out to me that these Native Americans of the Southwest are very different groups with very different religious views that caused trouble between them for centuries, even though they live in relative proximity. Sort of like the Sunni and Shiite and the Protestants and Catholics.

While I liked the plotting, character development and interpersonal interactions of the four major characters in this novel - Chee, Leaphorn, Bernadette, & Louisa, I found their dialog very stilted. It may be that Hillerman is trying to convey things about the culture but at times the dialog sounded like it was straight from a 1930's radio soap opera or drama. It seemed very cliched to me. The plot was great. This was one of the most complex plots so far in this series, and it showed tremendous depth and nuance. It is surprising to me that he packed so much into such a short novel. (230 pages in my edition) If I was to compliment nothing else in this novel, I would compliment it for that alone. This was a fine example of tight and compact writing and editing. ( )
  benitastrnad | May 30, 2017 |
The last few entries in the Leaphorn Navajo mystery series have fallen into a pattern, not to say rut: Sergeant Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police is assigned to a new case. As he's investigating, retired NTP Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn starts poking around an old, unsolved case from his time on the force. Eventually, he figures out the two cases are related; Chee and Leaphorn team up to solve both.

This time around, we've got a confessed murderer, who claimed self defense when he shot a man who may have been trying to scam him about the location of a legendary lost gold mine. His wife disappeared at the time of the shooting, and now that he's out of prison he hires Leaphorn to try to find her.

Chee and his latest ladylove Bernadette Manuelito, his subordinate on the NTP, are investigating the discovery of a man's body in his pickup truck located far off the beaten path. They find out that the newly dead guy was recently poking around the details of the old dead guy case and suspect there may be some sort of link. Oh, and Chee is in love. Again. Not that he makes even half a move, because he'd rather brood about it. Sigh.

It's ... fine? It didn't feel as if there was as much information about Navajo customs in this one, which diminished my enjoyment a bit, although not as much as Chee's inept romance. The final solution seemed somewhat obvious but everything was wrapped up satisfactorily if not happily. Another one crossed off the list. ( )
  rosalita | May 23, 2017 |
Jim Chee, Joe Leaphorn and Bernadette Manuelito join forces to sift out clues from the sands of the Southwest.

As usual, the tone and atmosphere of the location and the people are what is interesting about this mystery. I love the way Hillerman works history, legend and tradition into his stories. ( )
  MrsLee | Nov 15, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tony Hillermanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Guidall, GeorgeReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Officer Bernadette Manuelito had been having a busy day, enjoying most of it, and no longer feeling like the greenest rookie of the Navajo Tribal Police.
L'agente Bernadette Manuelito aveva avuto una giornata impegnativa ma, nel complesso, positiva e aveva smesso di sentirsi la recluta più inesperta dell'intera Polizia navajo.
Quotations
[...] una coppia navajo era uscita fuori arrabbiata,discutendo  ad alta voce.
"Guarda", aveva detto Nakai al nipote, "parlano entrambi, e a voce alta, ma nessuno dei due ascolta l'altro. Ricorda cosa ci ha insegnato Donna Cangiante: un tempo sapevamo parlare agli animali ma, quando diventammo completamente umani, essi non furono più in grado di capirci, perché ora avevamo le parole per parlare gli uni con gli altri delle questioni importanti. Ma dobbiamo imparare ad ascoltare".
Era stato mentre avevano assistito a un'accesa discussione tra un uomo e una donna che Nakai gli aveva illustrato il racconto della Separazione. Un tempo la gente viveva nei pressi di un fiume nel Terzo Mondo. Come cibo, gli uomini dovevano cacciare cervi, antilopi, conigli e tacchini, mentre le donne raccoglievano noci, radici e bacche. A un certo punto i due sessi diventarono infelici, ognuno di loro pensando che stava facendo più del dovuto. Le donne decisero che potevano vivere meglio senza gli uomini, e gli uomini dissero che non avevano bisogno delle donne. Così esse si costruirono un accampamento al di là del fiume. Ma poiché i due sessi scoprirono ben presto che senza l'altro c'era solo tristezza, decisero di tornare insieme.
Ecco uno dei diecimila motivi per cui aveva amato Emma: la possibilità di esporle i problemi e le preoccupazioni del suo lavoro e di scoprire, mentre parlava, mentre valutava le reazioni di lei, che la nebbia tendeva a diradarsi e che nuove prospettive venivano alla luce. Non avrebbe dovuto condividere con un'altra donna il legame speciale che aveva avuto con Emma. Ma con Louisa lo aveva già fatto, ed era un segno della sua debolezza. Aprì una pagina bianca sul bloc-notes, tirò fuori la penna e cominciò a disegnare.
Louisa rise. "Una cartina. Chissà perché sapevo già che ci sarebbe stata una cartina".
Leaphorn si ritrovò a sorridere. Era un'abitudine per cui veniva spesso preso in giro. Sulla parete del suo ufficio alla centrale della Polizia navajo campeggiava un ingrandimento della cartina del territorio indiano ddll'Associazione Automobilistica Americana. La cartina erq deturpata da centinaia di puntine, i cui colori stavano a significare incienti, avvenimenti o individui che il tenente considerava significativi. Le puntine ne rappresentavano i luoghi in cui si diceva fossero stati avvistati i cosiddetti "Lupi Navajo", o in cui erano state sporte denunce in relazione a riti di stregoneria compiuti da questi mitici skinwalker. Le puntine rosse segnalavano le abitazioni di famosi contrabbandieri, le blu i trafficanti di droga, le binache i ladri di bestiame e così via. Alcune venivano anche accompagnate da postille, che il tenente scriveva a caratteri minuscoli e precisi, altre si decodificavano attraverso simboli che solo lui poteva capire. Insomma, sembrava che chiunque lavorasse in polizia conoscesse quella cartina e le sue versioni rimpicciolite, che Leaphorn teneva in macchina e che localizzavano qualunque caso stesse trattando al momento.
"Non posso negarlo: le cartine mi piacciono" disse. "Mi aiutano a chiarire i pensieri".
"Quando ero molto più giovane, un vecchio zuni mi raccontò una loro leggenda in proposito. Due giovani cacciatori avevano salvato una libellula che era rimasta intrappolata nel fango. Come accade di solito in queste storie, essa concesse ai due di esprimere un desiderio. Uno disse che voleva diventare il più intelligente della terra, e la libellula rispose: "Così sia". Ma il secondo cacciatore disse che voleva diventare più intelligente dell'uomo più intelligente della terra..."
[...]
"Così la libellula trasformò il secondo cacciatore in una donna" concluse lei, ridendo e facendogli un cenno col capo.
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