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The First Eagle (Navajo Mysteries #13)

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  3,502 ratings  ·  131 reviews
When Acting Lt. Jim Chee catches a Hopi poacher huddled over a butchered Navajo Tribal police officer, he has an open-and-shut case--until his former boss, Joe Leaphorn, blows it wide open. Now retired from the Navajo Tribal Police, Leaphorn has been hired to find a hot-headed female biologist hunting for the key to a virulent plague lurking in the Southwest. The scientist ...more
Paperback, 319 pages
Published June 3rd 1999 by HarperTorch (first published January 1st 1998)
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A Thief of Time by Tony HillermanSkinwalkers by Tony HillermanThe Blessing Way by Tony HillermanDance Hall of the Dead by Tony HillermanTalking God by Tony Hillerman
Native American Detectives
18th out of 62 books — 53 voters
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Native American Fiction
85th out of 495 books — 446 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Ed Mestre
Tony Hillerman can always be counted on for a quick, enjoyable read. Unlike Patricia Cornwell's "Body Farm" I recently reviewed it doesn't have the handicap of sounding a bit dated no matter when it was published. That's because these mystery solvers don't rely on the latest forensics & computers to come up with the solution. It has to do with relationships. Relationships to their culture, community, & most of all the land of the four corners area of the American Southwest. The space & ...more
Mark Robertson
The legendary Lieutenant Leaphorn is retired but still investigating mysteries on the reservation, and it's a good thing, as his insights are invaluable to his longtime subordinate Jim Chee. In this mystery Chee's focused on the murder of a Navajo police officer under his command while Leaphorn is investigating the disappearance of a field scientist looking for the source of bubonic plague that's killed a couple of Indians. The researcher disappeared on the same day that the officer was murdered ...more
OK. Yet another 3-1/2 stars instead of the official Very Good 4 stars out of 5 showing here. I'm going to assume that since "The First Eagle" is the 13th book in Tony Hillerman's "Leaphorn & Chee" series, the people reading this by now know how Hillerman writes. This is mostly that. However, there are problems. The most trivial is that the Kindle version has a lot of OCR/editing issues. Next, the little inconsistencies in technical writing that I noticed in the last book ("The Fallen Man") a ...more
Oct 26, 2007 Jo rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everone
Shelves: mystery, arizonia
Lots of intresting details, good research, but I was not really in suspence. Really wonderfull charecters too.
Later-I discussed this with a goodreads friend and 2 others and came to relize this was #14 in a series. I may go back and read #1 down the road. The anthropology was a blast.
Bobby Underwood
Tony Hillerman has once again created a fresh and involving entry in his fine series about the Navajo Tribal Police. In this one, the retired Leaphorn is at loose ends after the death of his beloved wife, Emma. Chee, meanwhile, has become acting Lieutenant, but is experiencing reservations over the possibility that it might become permanent. There is a little less of the Navajo mysticism in this entry, but the vast territory covered by the Navajo Tribal Police is given its due as always.

I have read number of Hillerman's Navajo series now and fine them ranging from good to outstanding this one is former. The characters continue to grow with each book I read as does the information on the area and bubonic plague is excellent. This book we here about Skinwalkers again. Jim Chee is backing up a Tribal policeman and find the apparent KILLER standing over the man cover with blood. He arrests the man a Hopi Indian and it is felt by the FBI that the case is complete. The Hopi says he c ...more
Robert Walton
This book is especially resonant in the age of Ebola. Tony Hillerman and Edward Abbey are the great champions of of the Southwest, though only Hillerman embraces the natural world as an active character in his novels. That world seizes primacy in First Eagle. Old friends Leaphorn, Chee and McGinnes have their thoughtful conversations, but they and the other characters float upon deadly, murderous currents. In trying to resolve the death of a murdered policeman and the fate of a missing woman, th ...more
Mary Ellen
Both of Hillerman's detectives are in new positions that don't quite fit: Joe Leaphorn is spending his retirement acting like a cop and Jim Chee, Acting Lieutenant, avoids supervisory duties by plunging deep into the investigation of the murder of one of his officers. I love the contrast between "modern" Leaphorn and "traditional" Chee and the bits here and there about Navajo (and to a lesser extent, Hopi) belief and practice, which gradually add up to presentation of a whole world view.

My seco
I've read and enjoyed many of Hillerman's Navajo Tribal Police novels, though apparently not during this past year, and not this one before. These are low-key mysteries, in which the police characters - Jim Chee and the (now-retired) Lt. Joe Leaphorn - work methodically toward solving their problems. Leaphorn is a traditional thinking detective in many ways - I might compare him to Simenon's Maigret, except the two writers' narrative styles are so different. In this particular novel, there are t ...more
Mar 03, 2012 Sull rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Sull by: Library find
Missed this one, a good one, somehow when I was reading these years (decades) ago. I'm finding these Hillerman Navaho mysteries so full of meaning now, especially the ones dealing with retired policeman Leaphorn. I think I was bored with these slower (sadder) stories when I read this series in my 20s, but now that I'm inching trepidaciously into my 60s, I'm consuming these tales of elderly retirees & wily shamans working together with more interest, more need. Back then I guess I liked the m ...more
I really like Tony Hillerman's book. One of the things I like is that they are set in the 4 corners area and I have spent a little time there. Hillerman is good at explaining some things about Indian culture (several different tribes) This book is about a group of people, from several agencies, studying plague and other diseases that have become more virulent due to the overuse of antibiotics. At the beginning to the story a man has just died of plague contracted from fleas on prairie dogs. I ha ...more
James Korsmo
I have long been a lover of Tony Hillerman stories. I enjoy the cultural landscape that surrounds his mysteries, and appreciate the cultural tensions in which his characters struggle and flourish. This book displays that same depth with the same quality mystery that typifies Hillerman's work. Now, his writing is as deep as P. D. James, but that's okay. Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn are two good main characters, and they again put their detecting skills to work to solve a murder and a disappearance. ...more
Narrated By: George Guidall
Joe Leaphorn/Jim Chee mystery

New York Times best-selling author Tony Hillerman packs his flawless mysteries with evocative southwestern scenery, Native American lore, and finely-crafted characters. In The First Eagle, fear has been sweeping the Navajo reservation ever since a vicious killer and an unusually virulent strain of bubonic plague started claiming victims. When Tribal policeman Jim Chee discovers a blood-stained Hopi man hovering over a young officer’s body,
Elizabeth Mosley
I didn't really enjoy this Leaphorn/Chee mystery. The main plot hinges around the disappearance of a "vector specialist," a woman who works for the NIH studying diseases in rodents. I felt like much of the book was a rehashing of biology class. It was technical and boring, and there wasn't nearly enough character development for me to care about any of the main figures. Even Chee and Leaphorn's characters got short shrift in this book.
I think because I am reading this series in order, I love the stories even more than I did the first time. Characters that show up sporadically in the books are fresher in my mind and therefore I don't spend trying to remember their back story.

This book is not as enjoyable if you have not read previous Leaphorn/Chee stories. I loved everything about this story.

I am sadly getting closer to the final Tony Hllerman story.
Mary Helene
This really had everything I want in a mystery: decent writing, evocative setting, and reflections on relationships: ethical, romantic and fraternal. Joe Leaphorn, Jim Chee and "Cowboy" all love each other; other characters support that love. It's worth taking to heart. The plot: a bit clunky, but only because it wasn't the point. The plot was adequate to carry the rest, and even clever. I've been thinking about the ending and it's satisfying.
The author mentions two other books in passing, which
Sylvia McIvers
Nice show of Indian beliefs, a little about life on the reservation, and a missing woman who is (surprise!) actually dead. The first eagle was a witness to the murder... sort of.

Add a little plague, and you've got some urgency to solving the case. The plague-solver is a complete jackass, and isn't interested in solving the murder of a single person - its far more important to solve the mystery of the plague, which can kill millions.
I'm not normally a great lover of mysteries, but since my work for the Park Service has me researching the Navajo, I thought I'd better listen to one of Hillerman's books on my drive home last month. As far as mysteries go, I did not find the First Eagle terribly suspenseful. It was quite obvious that the accused murderer was not the murderer, and no one seemed to be in any danger of anything while the real murderer was ever so slowly tracked down. I also found the book tediously full of details ...more
Anne Dart
I enjoyed this mystery set in the Southwest which involves the Hopi, the Navajo and the white man in a modern day setting. The resurgence of the bubonic plague and attempts to find a cure added a new wrinkle to this mystery as a young Hopi is accused of killing both an eagle and a law enforcement officer.
As a retired academic biologist, I found the book interesting because it depicts, albeit exaggerated, competition between scientists. The plot reminded me of one of Hillerman's earlier books in which competition between several archeologists resulted in murder for the sake of claim and fame over theories and artifacts. Shades of this competition does exist in academia and research, but not to the point of murder, obviously. Regardless, Hillerman's novels use murder/crime as a trope for plot deve ...more
Patrick Gibson
From most authors, this would be an impressive book. From Hillerman, it is not. He was coasting with this one -- worth reading, but don't buy it unless, like me, you find it at the used bookstore.Yes, it has Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, and it's set on the reservation. But the precipitating conflict is between two non-Native American researchers on the reservation. Leaphorn gets hired by one of the researcher's parents to solve her disappearance. Glimpses of Navajo culture and thinking, and Hopi c ...more
Morris Graham
A Hopi eagle poacher, the murder of a Navajo Tribal Policeman, a missing vector control agent sudying bubonic plague cases among the prairie dog burrows... Follow retired NTP Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn and acting Lieutenant Jim Chee on their search for the truth. This story is full of angles, troubles between local law enforcement on the reservation and the FBI, along with the return back to the reservation of Chee's half Navajo ex-fiance turned public defender that makes this novel a spellbinding ...more
Susan  Odetta
I thought I had read every single book Tony Hillerman ever wrote, but I'm not sure about this one. Either I have read it and lost it in the recesses of my aging brain, or I missed it. Either way I'm enjoying reading it (again?).

OK....I never read this on before and it is as wonderful as all of Hillerman's Jim Chee/Joe Leaphorn stories. Hillerman is one of those rare writers who, like Alexander McCall Smith, takes you to a location in such a way that you can feel and know the place as if you are
Jan 20, 2008 Hope rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any mystery fan, cozy-readers as well as hard-bitten sleuths

I listened to Tony Hillerman's First Eagle, read by George Guidall. It was excellent, as his novels usually are. It's one of his Navajo mysteries. Each novel stands alone as a single episode, but they also make up a serial story about the characters' lives. I've read quite a few of them, entirely out of order, and haven't had any trouble following the serial aspects of the story. Mr. Hillerman manages to give enough information for you to keep up, while keeping the mystery story central.

The myst
Two series of events come together: an eagle-poacher accused of murder and a virologist gone missing. I enjoyed Jim Chee's collaboration with an Indian cop not from the Navajo tribal police.
I have read a lot of Tony Hillerman and I enjoy them very much. The Legendary Lieutenant, Joe Leaphorn, is retired in this book and has taken on a private investigation of a missing woman who is working on tracking bubonic plague in the area. Jim Chee, Leaphorn's protegee is now the acting Lieutenant in the Navajo police and he is looking into the murder of one of his officers. Are the two cases related? Leaphorn does not believe in coincidence, and the two case overlap more than either can expl ...more
Jeanie Mccarthy Pityinger
This was an okay read - I loved that it took place on the Indian reservation and the Native American theme; but this was def NOT a 'can't put it down page turner' or very suspensful - I had figured out 'who done it' 2/3 the way through it.
The kudos continue for Mr. Hillerman with this wonderful offering, The First Eagle. With legendary Navajo tribal cop Joe Leaphorn retired now comes back into the picture as a privet detective hired by the aunt of a missing woman on the Hopi reservation and by chance crosses path's with acting Lt. Jim Chee at the Tuba City tribal office who is now investigating the death of one of his deputy's in the area where the young woman goes missing. Just good hard Navajo Reservation mystery wrapped around ...more
This was one of those paper backs you find at the rented beach house and read over the week. The story revolves around a murder of a researcher investigating outbreaks of bubonic plague and hanta virus on a Hopi Reservation. It had some interesting characters in it, but I found it a little too much like a CSI episode where they feel the need to explain every little thing along the way, which they most certainly wouldn't be doing in reality. The conclusion surrounds a minor legal loophole which I ...more
This is my second novel I've read by Hillerman, the first being Coyote Waits. You get the distinct impression that he really wants to write a hard boiled detective novel, but he can't quite bring himself to make his characters that cynical. The story pulls you along a good pace, and the little insights into Native American culture are a unique and interesting facet. It has enough twists and gives you enough clues to keep you trying to figure out what is happening, but somehow never makes it out ...more
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Tony Hillerman, who was born in Sacred Heart, Oklahoma, was a decorated combat veteran from World War II, serving as a mortarman in the 103rd Infantry Division and earning the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and a Purple Heart. Later, he worked as a journalist from 1948 to 1962. Then he earned a Masters degree and taught journalism from 1966 to 1987 at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, wh ...more
More about Tony Hillerman...
The Blessing Way (Navajo Mysteries, #1) Skinwalkers (Navajo Mysteries, #7) A Thief of Time (Navajo Mysteries, #8) Listening Woman (Navajo Mysteries, #3) Dance Hall of the Dead (Navajo Mysteries, #2)

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