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People of Darkness: 05/18/13

cover art

People of Darkness by Tony Hillerman is the fourth of the Navajo mysteries and the introduction of Jim Chee. Chee is hired as a private consultant to figure out who stole the apparently worthless rocks left in a wealthy man's box. Meanwhile, Leaphorn is curious about an old mining disaster that now seems to be connected with a spate of cancer deaths. In the middle of all of this, there's a man driven mad by his desire for revenge.

Hillerman's mysteries seem to bring together the old and the new, especially after the introduction of Jim Chee. As the younger of the two he gets the active cases — though usually as an officer of the Navajo Police. Joe Leaphorn, gets the gossip and cold cases and through patience, and the willingness to sit through many a long story, is able to see how the gossip fits together and (often) relates to the modern day case at hand.

People of Darkness was one of those rare Hillerman books where I was on the same page with Leaphorn. Usually I'm more of a Jim Chee person and I fail to see the big picture as it is unfolding before me. This time, though, I began to see how everything fit together in one of Leaphorn's earliest meetings to hear about the mining disaster and the belief that witchcraft was behind the cancer taking the survivors one by one.

Even though I saw how it fit all together, I still enjoyed the mystery. I listened to it on audio, performed by George Guidall. He has the perfect voice for these books.

Five stars

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