(US, 1925– )
Born in Oklahoma, Tony Hillerman was brought up on a farm and went to a school for Indian children. This initiated his fascination with American Indian culture and he tackles tribal culture with empathy and compassion in his popular whodunits featuring detective Joe Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal Police and the younger detective, Jim Chee. Dance Hall of the Dead (1973) introduced Leaphorn and won the Edgar Award. Hillerman's novels are meticulously researched but the wealth of details about Indian practices and mores never overshadows tight plots with many twists. He first teamed Leaphorn and Chee in Skinwalkers (1987) and the contrast between the characters’ education, attitudes to their cultural heritage, and sensibilities whenever they work an investigation together is both prickly and supportive. Despite the wealth of fascinating Indian lore, Hillerman's books are also perfect entertainments and he is a regular on the American best-seller lists.
James Lee Burke, Evan Hunter (writing as Ed McBain) MJ