Nothing had seemed complicated about the old "Golden Calf" case. A con game had gone sour. Wealthy old Wiley Denton had shot the swindler, called the police, confessed, and done his short prison time. No mystery there. Except why did the rich man's bride vanish? Cynics said she was part of the swindle plot, but that explanation never quite satisfied retired Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, though the case was long over. Now, papers found by Sergeant Jim Chee and Officer Bernie Manuelito in a new homicide case connect the victim to Denton and to the mythical Golden Calf Mine. The first victim had been there just hours before Denton killed him. And while Denton was killing him, four children trespassing in the long-abandoned Wingate Ordnance Depot reported to police that they had heard what sounded like music and the cries of a woman.
The questions raised by this second Golden Calf murder draw Joe Leaphorn out of retirement and aren't answered until Leaphorn discovers what the young trespassers heard in the wailing wind.
"The return of Leaphorn and Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police in Four Corners Country is cause for rejoicing. Sergeant Jim Chee lures his old boss, Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, out of retirement with news of a murder that reaches back to an unsolved mystery that has long haunted both Chee and Leaphorn. Officer Bernadette Manuslito, a Tribal Police rookie and one of the most satisfyingly human woman cops in current fiction, discovers a body in a parked car. Manuslito is traditional Navajo and fears contamination from the spirit lingering near the corpse. She leaves the crime scene unprocessed and is criticized for mishandling evidence, leaving her boss and romantic interest Chee to cover her tracks. A document found later on the body is the link to Leaphorn and Chee's old case, which involves a murder and a disappearance tied to a legendary lost gold mine. The Navajo, according to Hillerman, view gold as a substance that drives white men crazy. This tale of rabid questing for an iffy gold source bears out this belief. It also has the heady Hillerman mix of goofy stationhouse politics, rich depiction of Navajo customs, evocative landscape, and prose that can move from comedy to terror in a split second. Hillerman invented the Native American mystery, widely practiced now, but nobody does it better. Connie Fletcher."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"The 15th Chee/Leaphorn mystery (after 1999's relatively weak Hunting Badger) finds MWA Grand Master Hillerman back at the top of his form as his two Navajo peace officers look into both a past and present mystery. Religious fervency and single-minded greed become strange but necessary bedfellows in a plot filled, as always, with insights into the lives and beliefs of the "Dineh." When an abandoned pickup truck turns out to contain one very dead white man, Sgt. Jim Chee's instincts lead him to bring retired Lt. Joe Leaphorn into the case. Leaphorn's trademark curiosity sends him in search of possible links between this homicide and another two years earlier. The first murder occurred on Halloween day when Wiley Denton supposedly shot Marvin McKay in self-defense after McKay tried to sell him bogus information about an old gold mine. That same day Denton's wife, Linda, disappeared; she has never been heard from again. Leaphorn's recollection of what had been shrugged off as a Halloween prank out at old Fort Wingate now becomes the itch he has to scratch. It seems a group of teens shortcutting across the area had endured a close call with La Llorana, a mythical wailing woman. The information he gathers adds yet another piece to the puzzle of the missing Linda. Chee is up to his elbows in not only the investigation but also in sorting through his growing emotional confusion about the beautiful Bernadette Manuelito. The seemingly insignificant turns critical and the loose ends tie up in one tidy conclusion as Hillerman repeatedly shines in this masterfully complex new novel. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved