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The Blessing Way Mass Market Paperback – May 26, 2009
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About the Author
Tony Hillerman (1925–2008), an Albuquerque, New Mexico, resident since 1963, was the author of 29 books, including the popular 18-book mystery series featuring Navajo police officers Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, two non-series novels, two children’s books, and nonfiction works. He had received every major honor for mystery fiction; awards ranging from the Navajo Tribal Council's commendation to France 's esteemed Grand prix de litterature policiere. Western Writers of America honored him with the Wister Award for Lifetime achievement in 2008. He served as president of the prestigious Mystery Writers of America, and was honored with that group’s Edgar Award and as one of mystery fiction’s Grand Masters. In 2001, his memoir, Seldom Disappointed, won both the Anthony and Agatha Awards for best nonfiction.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book starts with the disappearance of Luis Horseman who thinks he has murdered someone and takes off for a lonely corner of the Navajo tribal lands. Leaphorn a Navajo 'Law and Order' sets out to find him, What he finds is a body - which seems a bit odd - the death is suspicious and witchcraft is suggested.
Leaphorn must sift through the facts and the fiction to understand the Navajo's death. I really enjoyed this part - listening to Leaphorn as he sorted out what people said and what they probably meant. The convoluted relationships which allowed him to figure out what happened to Luis
The story then cuts to a pair of researchers who are studying the Navajo and their culture and rituals - and this is where the action gets really good. I found the pursuit in this to be one of the best I have read. It was chilling to read and I couldn't put it down.
The last part of the book where the reason was revealed and the ultimate escape was all right. Quite amusing in parts, but not brilliant - well written though.
Overall, I really liked this book and have been searching out more of his stuff. I have said it before, but I will say it again, the culture is so well revealed - I was intrigued by it and loved the way it fitted in with the story without dominating it with excessive explanation. I also enjoyed his descriptions of the country, they were graphic and evocative.
I would recommend you try at least one of his stories, my favourite so far has been listening woman.
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.
However, if you're approaching the technically-white but 'adopted'-Navajo master storyteller for the first time, and want to know where to begin, this is the place!
You will learn more authentic information about the Navajo culture from Hillerman than from all the academic types who have ever written on the subject. Not to mention Southwest Geography and Climate, along with the uncomfortable relationship between the Navajo tribal police and other law-enforcement agencies in the area.
From the creepy opening chapter, to the introduction of the great tribal policeman, Leaphorn, to the satisfying resolution of the mystery, there is no better way to meet Hillerman than in the book that started it all. Here are Arizona and New Mexico as you've always imagined them, complete with tourist-guide detail about places you'll HAVE to go visit after you read this. [The books really do make great travel guides, once you figure out where the locales are by consulting a good map.]
The *only* quibble anyone could have with this book is the Title, which is NOT Hillerman's own-- it was imposed on him by his publisher and has nothing to do with the story. Other than that, the book is perfect.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great Hillermann, so sorry he's gone. Hope Anne keeps the tribe alive. Missing all my favorite authors that have gone to the great beyond.Published 3 days ago by JJ
Decent mystery, well written. But, what makes it worthwhile is the background about a part of this country most of us only know from movies, and the people who live there.Published 3 days ago by Raczek's Roughnecks
No reflection on this celebrated writer, it's my fault for "picking something different to read." I saw a couple of Leaphorn/Chee stories done on PBS and loved them. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Shirley Y. Thomas
Tony Hillerman again gives the reader a glimpse into the Navajo culture. His ability to write about a culture that has existed for ages is fascinating. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Ardon B
THE BLESSING WAY
AS VERY GOOD HILLERMAN BOOK. FAST READING. IENJOYEDD IT. I'VE LIKED ALL OF. THE HILLERMAN. BOOKS THST I'VE. READ..
I don't know how I missed it before but suspected I'd read it almost fifty years ago when it was first published. I hadn't. It reminded me of why I enjoyed Tony Hillerman. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Patrick T. Kelly
A good read that I found hard to put down. The author makes you feel he is well versed in Navajo native beliefs.Published 5 days ago by Noel E. Harvey
Hillerman is a skilled story teller, creating a complex plot, multidimensional characters, and a loving view of the western land inhabited by the Navajo people. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Leslie M. Miller