The Wailing Wind by Tony Hillerman

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To Officer Bernadette Manuelito, the man curled up on the truck seat was just another drunk—which got Bernie in trouble for mishandling a crime scene—which got Sergeant Jim Chee in trouble with the FBI—which drew Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn out of retirement and back into the old "Golden Calf" homicide, a case he had hoped to forget.

Nothing had seemed complicated about that earlier one. A con game had gone sour. A swindler had tried to sell wealthy old Wiley Denton the location of one of the West's multitude of legendary lost gold mines. Denton had shot the swindler, called the police, confessed the homicide, and done his short prison time. No mystery there.

Except why did the rich man's bride vanish? The cynics said she was part of the swindle plot. She'd fled when it failed. But, alas, old Joe Leaphorn was a romantic. He believed in love, and thus the Golden Calf case still troubled him. Now, papers found in this new homicide case connect the victim to Denton and to the mythical Golden Calf Mine. The first Golden Calf victim had been there just hours before Denton killed him. And while Denton was killing him, four children trespassing among the rows of empty bunkers in the long-abandoned Wingate Ordnance Depot called in an odd report to the police. They had heard, in the wind wailing around the old buildings, what sounded like music and the cries of a woman.

Bernie Manuelito uses her knowledge of Navajo country, its tribal traditions, and her friendship with a famous old medicine man to unravel the first knot of this puzzle, with Jim Chee putting aside his distaste of the FBI to help her. But the questions raised by this second Golden Calf murder aren't answered until Leaphorn solves the puzzle left by the first one and discovers what the young trespassers heard in the wailing wind.


About Tony Hillerman

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Tony Hillerman (1925–2008) was an award-winning author and newspaperman, best known for his mystery novels set on the Navajo Nation. Don Strel, a photographer, has been published in numerous books and magazines. He has taught art and design at the university level and has served as the director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of New Mexico. He is currently the director of the Southwest Assignments photography, design and public relations agency, which he founded in 1991. Anne Hillerman is the founding director of Wordharvest Writers’ Workshops, a journalist, and author whose books include Tony Hillerman’s Landscape: On the Road with Chee and Leaphorn. She is Tony Hillerman’s eldest daughter.
Published October 13, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 368 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Two years ago, wealthy oil-lease magnate Wiley Denton confessed to shooting Marvin McKay dead—a con man, he testified, whose offer of a partnership in the lost Golden Calf goldmine backfired when he tried to leave Denton's place with the $50,000 down payment in lieu of any legal agreement&#...

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Wailing Wind

Publishers Weekly

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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.

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Book Reporter

And THE WAILING WIND also continues to explore the evolving relationship between Leaphorn and Professor Louisa Bourbonette, which appeared a few books back, contrasted by Chee's comic bumbling of yet another romantic interest.

Jan 24 2011 | Read Full Review of The Wailing Wind


Jim Leaphorn, the Navajo cop called the "legendary lieutenant" by colleagues, reteams with his testy ex-partner Jim Chee, who lures him out of retirement to help solve a new murder linked to lingering questions from the seemingly closed case of a convicted killer.

May 27 2002 | Read Full Review of The Wailing Wind

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