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    Review of SKELETON MAN by Tony Hillerman (see his website)


    Harper Collins, December 2004

    When an Indian is arrested for murder after he tries to pawn a twenty-thousand dollar diamond for $2, retired Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn digs around. It seems that two airliners crashed over the Grand Canyon fifty years earlier. One passenger carried a case of diamonds--diamonds that would be worth well over a million dollars. Even better, from Leaphorn's perspective, the airline crash diamonds, if real, would seem to confirm the Indian's story--and innocence.

    Sergeant Jim Chee, along with fiancee Bernadette Manuelito follow Joe's evidence, looking for the diamonds and the old shaman who is said to have traded diamonds for simple things like a knife or shovel. But they aren't the only ones looking. A woman believes that the arm bone from the man who was carrying the diamonds will prove she's heir to a huge estate. And the man who controls the estate now will stop at nothing to prevent her from finding the arm--or the diamonds. In a confrontation in the Grand Canyon, someone is definitely going to get hurt.

    Author Tony Hillerman (see more reviews of novels by Tony Hillerman) writes a compelling story combining mystery with Native American legend. SKELETON MAN continues the wonderful Joe Leaphorn/Jim Chee series with Hillerman's strong writing. I thought that the ending came a bit abruptly and lacked some of the cleverness I expect in a Leaphorn novel, but the book is still a pleasure to read.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 4/22/05

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