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Skeleton Man: 05/27/13

cover art

Skeleton Man by Tony Hillerman and performed by George Guidall is the penultimate book in the Navajo Mysteries series. Retired Lt. Joe Leaphorn is put on the scent of a missing cache of diamonds after a diamond is stolen from the local trading post. A Hopi man is accused of the theft when he tries to pawn a similar diamond for $20.

While the Hopi sits in jail, stories surface about a lost briefcase of diamonds, as well as a denied inheritance. Those who want the diamonds, as well the woman who wants her rightful piece of her father's estate both go in search for these diamonds. They relate to a 1956 plane crash over the Grand Canyon. A diamond courier was on board. When his body was recovered, it was missing an arm and the attached briefcase. That case was reported spotted later in the Colorado river, tied up on some debris. But it was gone by the time the authorities were there to recover it.

Chee, researching the Hopi's claims that he was given the diamond, crosses paths with Leaphorn's investigation into the Trading Post robbery. Both cases rely on stories passed down through the generations, there is a lot of repetition of the events of the crash, as well as the report of the old man with the diamonds. For readers who don't like this level of repetition, I suggest either skimming these sections or skipping the book all together. Personally, I think the repetition worked well here, both thematically and for dispersing clues.

Five stars

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