Book 11 of the Navajo Mysteries finds Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn both investigating, on their own time, the arrest of Ashie Pinto. Chee is doing so as the arresting officer on medical leave, partially to assuage his guilt, partially to impress Janet Pete, the defense attorney back in town and defending Pinto. Leaphorn was asked to do so by the man’s niece, who is a distant relative of his late wife. Eventually they compare notes and solve the case, each working their own angle.
45. Tony Hillerman, Sacred Clowns, 354 pages, Mystery, Paperback, 1993 (borrowed from the library).
Jim Chee is now directly working with Joe Leaphorn, creating a Special Investigations Office of the Navajo Tribal Police. Chee is following leads about a missing school boy, a hit-and-run, a school teacher’s murder, all while being in the same village at the same time a koshare (sacred clown) is murdered, and in his spare time trying to still impress legal defender Janet Pete while figuring out if it is permissible (not taboo) to date her. The case is interesting, especially as pieces start to fit together. And I really liked Jim Chee’s discussion on hozho, the Beauty Way, a Navajo belief system of being in harmony with one’s surroundings.