The Blessing Way (Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee Series #1)

The Blessing Way (Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee Series #1)

by Tony Hillerman


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Homicide is always an abomination, but there is something exceptionally disturbing about the victim discovered in a high lonely place, a corpse with a mouth full of sand, abandoned at a crime scene seemingly devoid of tracks or useful clues. Though it goes against his better judgment, Navajo Tribal Police Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn cannot help but suspect a hint of the supernatural. There is palpable evil in the air, and Leaphorn’s pursuit of a Wolf-Witch is leading him where even the bravest men fear, on a chilling trail that winds perilously between mysticism and murder.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062821669
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/02/2018
Series: Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee Series , #1
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 212,292
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

TONY HILLERMAN served as president of the Mystery Writers of America and received the Edgar and Grand Master Awards. His other honors include the Center for the American Indian’s Ambassador Award, the Spur Award for Best Western Novel, and the Navajo Tribal Council Special Friend of the Dineh award. A native of Oklahoma, Tony Hillerman lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, until his death in 2008.


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Date of Birth:

May 27, 1925

Date of Death:

October 26, 2008

Place of Birth:

Sacred Heart, Oklahoma

Place of Death:

Albuquerque, New Mexico


B.A., University of Oklahoma, 1946; M.A., University of New Mexico, 1966

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Blessing Way 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 106 reviews.
BJVPhilly More than 1 year ago
I've read all the Leaphorn-Chee novels, but had I started at the beginning with "The Blessing Way" (the first Leaphorn novel), I may not have gone any further. I thoroughly enjoy a good, well-written mystery, and most of Hillerman's work is quite enjoyable. But this one is a bit below par. Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn is not even the central character and is only involved in a cursory manner. And although I like the way Hillerman weaves Navajo mysticism into his plotting, "The Blessing Way" was predominantly navajo lore with a (somewhat shallow) mystery thrown in. The plot in itself was never enough to engage me fully, and the character development that is done so well in Hillerman's subsequent Leaphorn novels is just not quite there yet. But if this is your first Hillerman novel, don't give up; some of those that follow are among the best mysteries I've ever read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
With the Arizona Sunsets, the Sandstone Cliffs, and miles of sheep country comes a mystery that will leave you in suspense and guessing how to solve a murder in indian country. Tony Hillerman brings Navajoland to life, and writes the book you just can't put down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I saw this in the bookstore over ten years ago and loved the original artwork. I bought it, loved the book, and went back to the store and bought every book of the series available at that time. I still have every single book in the Navajo Series and have read them all at least three times. I miss Tony Hillerman very, very much! :(
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Am a big fan of chee and Leaphorn so wanted to get the first in the series to get their story lines from the beginning. This book is too many incidental characters, too many myths, too many ceremonies, too many locations -- "name" overload! Up to page 51, very little Leaphorn, no Chee. Too exhausting to finish! Still love Hillerman amd series, but will get some later books in the series. Maybe they won't be so frustrating.
Author_of_The_Wham_Curse More than 1 year ago
Another great Hillerman story. I love the work that Tony Hillerman produced. The incorporation of Navajo history, beliefs, and modern life on the reservation add reality and interest to his stories. The Blessing Way continuous this in a very good story. This was a "can't put it down" book for me. If you haven't read his Chee/Leephorn books, you need to do it. I love having Joe Leaphorn questioning his own normally cynical view of Navajo spiritualiity.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think he was going to have a different hero and then the other characters took over as the books continued wish they had made more movies llove the land but sure wouldnt want to live there by the mississippi
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read them all and loved them all tony passed away several years ago learned a lot
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It took much too long to get to the point. Leaphorn was not present in the story much, he was the most engaging character and it would have been more interesting if he was more involved. I found myself skimming impatiently to finish some sections. Probably won't read another of this series.
BlissfulRhythm More than 1 year ago
This book really sucked me into the storyline and I couldn't put it down for three days! I definitely recommend it if you like mysteries and are interested in Navajo culture.
Anonymous 3 months ago
good story if you like ghost stories!
JoAnnSmithAinsworth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of his best, I think.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Some mysteries stand out because of an unforgettable character like Sherlock Holmes, or a distinct style like that of Chandler or mind-bending plots like that of Agatha Christie. In those areas, this novel was decent, but not impressive--what makes this novel stand out is setting. Published in 1970, the novel is set in the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico and the detective is Joe Leaphorn of the Tribal Police. The novel transported me into what is for me an alien way of thinking, a different spirituality and landscape. I have no way of knowing how accurate Hillerman is, but he certainly gave me the illusion of better knowing the way of the Dineh, their rituals and myths, when I closed the book, and the descriptions of the Southwest desert and wildlife was evocative and striking.
tututhefirst on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a really good mystery story. It takes place on a Navajo reservation. Joe Leaphorn is a Navajo cop who is able to use his knowledge of ancient traditions and culture to bring people out and gather the information he needs to solve the mystery. The real hero of this one (I'm guessing Joe's character will flesh out as the series goes along--after all the series is named after him)is a sort of has-been college professor/anthropologist named Bergen McKee. Even tho I had figured out 'whodunnit' with about 20% of the book left, it didn't spoil my enjoyment of this adventure. Not only was the plot a good one, and the characters well drawn and interesting, the descriptions of Navajo life, poetry, and scenery were an added bonus. I will definitely be reading another in this series
maneekuhi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hillerman's # 1 with Navajo Police Lt. Joe Leaphorn. Story begins with death of young Indian man by sand suffocation. Was he killed by a witch ? Before long more bodies turn up and plot evolves into missile testing, Mafia interestsn and there are at least five dead. Story takes place in desert/reservation lands of New Mexico-Arizona-Utah region. I will read other books in this series but doubt that I'll read them all.
bragan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A reservation cop looking for a fugitive and an anthropologist doing research on Navajo beliefs about witchcraft find their two investigations converging when the man's body turns up in mysterious circumstances and the locals suspect supernatural foul play. To start off with, this book has a few things going for it. The mysterious murder is sufficiently mysterious. The desert southwest setting is well rendered. And the glimpses it gives of Navajo culture are interesting and nicely handled. (Well, nicely handled in the sense that Hillerman takes the culture on its own terms, rather than exoticisizing or idealizing it for white readers. I don't have enough personal experience to say whether it's completely accurate or not, but I get the impression he knows what he's talking about.) Unfortunately, the story itself failed to grab me. The plot just wasn't all that interesting, and the characters felt very, very generic. Especially the weak, damsel-in-need-of-protection female character. Bleh.I'm not sorry I read it, but I'm not feeling any great need, at this point, to continue with the rest of the series.
red_dianthus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I normally never read mysteries, but this author is an exception. I saw one f his books recommended on lj years ago and went and found it and read it. I loved it. The main character is a cop on a big Navajo reservation down in the US. The stories all involve Navajo culture as part of the plot and the descriptions of the landscape make you feel like you are really there. Honestly I enjoyed the first one a bit more than this one because I like the female lead better for the side plot of romance. But I still liked this one and am looking forward to the two other books in the series that I got out of the discard pile at work.
janoorani24 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I always enjoy a good Tony Hillerman novel, and I particularly liked this one. It's one of his earlier ones featuring Joe Leaphorn as a younger man and without the Jim Chee character and all of his problems with women. The descriptions of the Navajo culture are very good in this one, and I loved his descriptions of the Southwest.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent writing. Good, clean mystery.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An excellent, respectfully written book incorporating Dine culture into fiction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A few rough edges but a well done tale
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Start of a great series. Will miss Tony's wonderful imagination.
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