Spider Woman's Daughter

Harper: HarperCollins. Nov. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9780062270481. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062270504. M
OrangeReviewStarTony Hillerman's 18 mysteries followed the investigations of Navajo cops Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee. Fans mourned when Hillerman died in 2008. Now the late author's beloved characters return in this series relaunch by his daughter, Anne. The book opens with an act of unexpected violence against a dear friend, witnessed by police officer Bernadette Manualito. She and her husband, Jim Chee, begin to piece together clues and determine who would commit this crime, even questioning the motives of the unaccounted-for Louisa Bourbonnette, Leaphorn's friend and housemate. Interspersed throughout the tale, yet important to character development and emphasizing the role of Navajo culture and beliefs (a highlight of the previous series), are vignettes of Bernadette's troubled sister and Jim's past studies to become a Navajo healer and descriptions of Navajo creation stories. Characters from 1988's Thief of Time play a dominant role in the unfolding of the plot. Pot hunters, archaeologists, controversy over the museum display of tribal objects, and insurance fraud culminate in a heart-stopping, action-packed conclusion as Bernadette and Jim risk their lives to bring a would-be assassin to justice.
VERDICT Fans of Southwestern mysteries will cheer this return of Leaphorn and Chee. [See Prepub Alert, 4/29/13; also highlighted at LJ's Day of Dialog Editors' Picks panel.—Ed.]
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