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Spider Woman's Daughter    by Anne Hillerman order for
Spider Woman's Daughter
by Anne Hillerman
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Joe Leaphorn, Jim Chee and Bernadette Manualito, the characters created by Tony Hillerman, were thought to be laid to rest when the prize winning mystery writer passed away in 2008. Not so! The series, set in Navajo Country, has been resurrected by the author's daughter.

The story opens with the retired Navajo Nation police lieutenant being gunned down after breakfast one morning in the parking lot of The Navajo Inn. Fighting for his life in the intensive care unit of a Santa Fe hospital, the legendary detective is totally incapacitated, so officers Chee and his wife Bernadette handle the investigation to apprehend the person responsible for the shooting.

Referencing some of the earlier stories and characters in the series, the key to unraveling this situation lies in the past. Like the shards of a newly discovered piece of native pottery, the couple must carefully reconstruct the private investigation Leaphorn was involved in before the shooting.

After a few blind alleys, Chee and Manualito finally find the right path that will allow them to piece together the days leading up to the attempt on their friend's life and result in apprehending the killer.

Although it is not essential to enjoying this novel, being familiar with the previous stories in this series will be helpful. Not only does the author fill in the gaps for the first time reader but, like her father, she is also very knowledgeable of Navajo culture and adds the insights and local color that have made the earlier novels so special.

Long time Tony Hillerman fans will probably notice a few subtle differences in the narration but, overall, this is an auspicious start to the second round of Leaphorn & Chee novels.

With time Anne Hillerman will become more comfortable in her role as the author of this series. There really isn't a better person to continue the legacy passed down from her father. It should not take more than one or two more novels to make this a seamless transition.

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