THE FIRST EAGLE by Tony Hillerman


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The day that Acting Lt. Jim Chee, of the Navajo Tribal Police, is called to Yells Back Butte by Officer Benny Kinsman, only to find Hopi eagle poacher Robert Jano standing over Kinsman’s bleeding body, is the same day that Catherine Pollard, a vector analyst from the Arizona Health Department, vanishes from Yells Back (along with her Jeep) while she’s looking for fleas—particularly the fleas that may have carried the antibiotic-resistant plague germs that killed Anderson Nez. So even though ex-Lt. Joe Leaphorn has retired from the Tribal Police (The Fallen Man, 1996), he’s back on the job, looking for Pollard at the request of her wealthy aunt. The murder case couldn’t seem simpler; Jano’s even gotten his blood obligingly mixed with his victim’s on both their clothing, and his claim that they were both nipped by an eagle isn’t borne out by the eagle on the scene, which doesn’t show a trace of blood itself. But Jano’s public defender—who just happens to be Chee’s off-again fiance Janet Pete, returned from hobnobbing in Washington, D.C., to the Rez, but not to Chee’s arms—insists that her client is innocent; Leaphorn’s crisscrossing investigation keeps turning up evidence that the murder and the disappearance are two sides of the same coin; and an ambitious prosecutor is so eager for a capital conviction that there’s got to be something funny. Chee brings it all, including his relationship with Janet, to a climax with a theatrical coup that would put a lesser writer on the map all by itself—and that reminds you, in case you’ve forgotten, that Hillerman’s mysteries are in a class of their own.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-06-017581-8
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1998


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