Tony Hillerman has written 15 or so novels about Navaho policemen working in the high,dry canyon country of New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. Published in 1970, this is the first in the series, introducing Joe Leaphorn, who will become well and favorably known in subsequent novels.
Witches are about in the Navajo country and Leaphorn -- the most rational of men -- perceives a connection between the tales of the witches and the murder of a young Navajo. Strange things occur: the throats of sheep are slashed, men dressed in wolfskins are seen, a hat is stolen, all of this leading to a confrontation in a cliff dwelling and a chase on a high desert plateau.
This is not the best novel of the series. Some of the deeds of a mild-mannered college professor fleeing the "witches" seem improbable. And Leaphorn is not yet fully developed as a unique character and master detective. But "Blessing Way" is a strong beginning to what would become a masterpiece series.
Hillerman's strengths are authenticity and atmosphere. Elements of Navajo culture, religion, and folkways are woven into the fabric of his novels. His landscapes are harsh and spectacular. Nature is magnificient, but also menacing. In this exotic setting, the supernatural seems almost possible and little chilly fingers tickle your spine. If you are a urbanite, you may not like Hillerman; but if you are drawn to big, blank spots on the map you will likely love him. Not the least of his accomplishments is that he has probably taught more people about the Navajo -- and generated more interest in Navajo culture -- than any other writer.