Tony Hillerman: A Critical Companion

By John M. Reilly | Go to book overview

13

Finding Moon
(1995)

When the rumors and hints that Tony Hillerman was working on a novel set in Asia were fulfilled with publication of Finding Moon, he prefaced the new book with an apology to fellow desert rats ‘‘for wandering away from our beloved Navajo canyon country’’ and a promise that ‘‘the next book will bring Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn of the Tribal Police back into action’’ (ix). This assurance that he was simply interrupting the steady issue of Navajo detective narratives makes a notable contrast to the writing plans Hillerman had entertained twenty-five years before at the start of his writing career. Then he had aimed to devote himself to writing the ‘‘big book’’ that is the dream of everyone with literary ambitions. Uncertain of his capacity to handle a major work on the subject of politics and journalism, Hillerman undertook what he expected to be only an apprentice work, which was eventually published as The Blessing Way. Turning then to his ‘‘important’’ subject he wrote and published The Fly on the Wall, but shortly afterwards returned to the subject of crime and detection in Navajo country. Whatever motivated Hillerman’s reconsideration of his original aim for his fiction, he adapted with alacrity and skill so that he has become now almost completely identified with, and widely respected for, the cycle of Leaphorn and Chee novels exploring ethical and cultural themes in the vivid settings of Native American reservations. Surely the excursion to other territory for the narrative of Find-

-191-

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Tony Hillerman: A Critical Companion
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Series Foreword xi
  • 1 - The Life of Tony Hillerman 1
  • 2 - Tony Hillerman and the Detective Fiction Genre 11
  • 3 - (1970) 21
  • 4 - (1971) 35
  • 5 - (1973) 51
  • 6 - (1980) 69
  • 7 - (1982) 85
  • 8 - (1984) 105
  • 9 - (1986) 125
  • 10 - (1988) 141
  • 11 - (1990) 157
  • 12 - (1993) 175
  • 13 - (1995) 191
  • Bibliography 201
  • Index 215
  • About the Author 219
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