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Sacred Clowns: 11/10/13

cover art

Sacred Clowns by Tony Hillerman is the eleventh book in the Navajo mystery series. While tracking down a missing boy to a Tano (Tewa) Pueblo ceremony, Chee discovers one of the koshare (clown) dancers is dead — killed in the same method as a teacher in a murder under investigation by Joe Leaphorn. Although both men aren't keen to work together, they have to because of overlapping evidence.

As the murder takes place in a Pueblo village during a public but religious ceremony, a good portion of this book is focused on Chee and Leaphorn learning what they can about the history and customs of their neighbors. There is time spent too on dancing around taboos, trying not to offend while still trying to get the leads they need to understand and solve the case.

There is also a fascinating clue involving the Lincoln canes, something I'm sad to say was a new-to-me piece of history. Lincoln had special mahogany canes with silver caps made and sent to recognize the sovereignty of the Pueblo nations.

While it's not my favorite of the Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn mysteries, it was certainly an interesting and informative read.

Four stars

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