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Skeleton Man by Tony Hillerman

Skeleton Man (2004)

by Tony Hillerman

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Oh, Jim Chee. How I will (not) miss you when I'm through with this series. The whiny Navajo Tribal Police sergeant is finally engaged to Bernadette Manuelito, a woman who seems much more suited to deal with his BS than the other two women he made an idiot of himself over in previous books. And yet, STILL WHINING! As a bonus, we get some navel-gazing from inside Bernie's head, too, as if one of them dragging the plot to a screeching halt wasn't enough.

The mystery, involving a mid-air collision of airliners over the Grand Canyon and a suitcase full of lost diamonds handcuffed to a dead man's severed arm, was not as interesting as that description makes it sound, since the crash was decades earlier and the arm is a mere skeleton. But the setting, on the floor of the Grand Canyon, was really interesting and the physical description made me feel like I was there. So that's something, anyway. ( )
  rosalita | Oct 4, 2017 |
Always interesting, but I hate to hear of Leaphorn getting old. ( )
  Pmaurer | Feb 4, 2017 |
In 1956 there was a collision of commercial airplanes over the Grand Canyon. All died and the canyon was littered with parts of the planes, bodies, suitcases, and other debris. Using that information, Tony Hillerman created a mystery regarding of the passengers who was carrying $1 million in diamonds strapped to his wrist. Chee, Cowboy Dashee, and Bernia all get involved with a little help from the Legendary Lieutenant. Fun. ( )
  whymaggiemay | Sep 7, 2015 |
I enjoyed this mystery novel immensely. The familiar characters, the Southwest milieu, and the simple straightforward plot make for a short, fast-paced tale with a satisfying ending. ( )
  baobab | Jun 10, 2015 |
Tony Hillerman is one of my all-time favorite authors. Skeleton Man is a mystery set in the backdrop of the Navajo Nations, focusing on retired LT Joe Leaphorn of the NTP coming out of retirement to help SGT Jim Chee solve an old mystery of a jewel robbery. As usual, the story weaves the Navajo culture into the story, making it fascinating. Hillerman's ability to describe the scenes and people along with his ability to weave a story makes this a great read! ( )
  MorrisE.Graham | Jan 2, 2015 |
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Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, retired, had been explaining how the complicated happening below the Salt Woman Shrine illustrated his Navajo belief in universal connections.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 006056346X, Mass Market Paperback)

Joe Leaphorn, former Navajo tribal police lieutenant, is not a happy retiree. So when his successor asks him to look into how a young Hopi named Billy Tuve came by a valuable diamond the boy tried to pawn for a fraction of its worth, Joe finds himself involved in a five decade old mystery. It dates back to a plane crash in the Grand Canyon, one that took the life of a man whose putative daughter also has an interest in the diamond; it could lead her to her father's remains, from which she hopes to extract enough DNA to establish her birthright. For good measure, Hillerman adds a couple of villains determined to beat her to the site of the crash, a cache of other diamonds long since given up for lost in the Canyon's watery depths, and a Hopi ritual that's kept the site secret for years. It's a good yarn, well but twice told; Hillerman sets it up in a chronologically confusing opening chapter, in which Joe spins the story for a couple of former law-enforcement colleagues--not just to entertain or enlighten them but to demonstrate what he calls his "Navajo belief in universal connections. The cause leads to inevitable effect. The entire cosmos being an infinitely complicated machine all working together."

Hillerman is a name-brand writer with a huge and well deserved following. His evocation of the landscape of the Southwest is as compelling as it ever was, and many familiar characters from the other 18 novels in this prize-winning series appear here, notably Sergeant Jim Chee and border patrol officer Bernie Manuelito, the woman Chee hopes to marry. Joe Leaphorn remains his most fully-realized protagonist; his perspective on life, destiny, and the sometimes uneasy truce between Native Americans and whites gives this series a unique place in the genre. But as evidenced by his latest, Hillerman's hero needs more than a retired duffer's memories to keep him vital and alive, even for his most dedicated fans. --Jane Adams

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:42 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"Former Navajo Tribal Police Lieutenant 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. He needs help, and Chee and his fiancee Bernie Manuelito, decide to provide it." "Proving the kid's innocence requires finding the remains of one of 172 people whose bodies were scattered among the cliffs of the Grand Canyon in an epic airline disaster 50 years in the past. That passenger had handcuffed to his wrist an attache case filled with a fortune in diamonds - one of which seems to have turned up in the robbery.". "The daughter of that long-dead diamond dealer is also seeking his body. So is a most unpleasant fellow, willing to kill to make sure she doesn't succeed. These two tense tales collide deep in the canyon at the place where an old man died trying to build a cult reviving reverence for the Hopi guardian of the Underworld. It's a race to the finish in a thunderous monsoon storm to see who will survive, who will be brought to justice, and who will finally unearth the Skeleton Man."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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