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People of Darkness (Leaphorn & Chee #4)

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,665 Ratings  ·  165 Reviews
Who would murder a dying man? Why would someone steal a box of rocks? And why would a rich man's wife pay $3,000 to get them back? These questions haunt Sgt. Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police as he journeys into the scorching Southwest. But there, out in the Bad Country, a lone assassin waits for Chee to come seeking answers, waits ready and willing to protect a vision ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 4th 1991 by HarperTorch (first published 1980)
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Nov 02, 2015 Carmen rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Mystery Fans
Recommended to Carmen by: Library
The 4th (fourth) Navajo book by Hillerman.

This time, our MC is not Joe Leaphorn, but the more mystical and traditionally Navajo Jim Chee.

Jim Chee is a great Navajo policeman and has a job offer on the table to become and FBI agent which he is considering - he can become an FBI agent and live in the white world or he can choose to become a Navajo holy man and live in the Navajo world. He hasn't decided what he wants to do yet.

When Jim Chee is hired by some rich white folks to find a secret sealed
David Harris
Mar 22, 2013 David Harris rated it it was amazing
* a long overdue celebration of Navajo culture, April 24, 2005 *

Tony Hillerman gives Anglos like me who grew up near the Navajo Nation and other reservations and are curious about these cultures but have no real means of accessing them a way of learning more about them and how members interact with mainstream America in modern times. I've read 5-6 Hillerman titles, and I've enjoyed each one. But this one is an especially good one.

If you like Hillerman's books, try The Shaman Sings and others fro
May 29, 2013 Susan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rated-five-stars
Published in 1978, one of the early Jim Chee. Takes place in the areas of New Mexico through which we were traveling, the continental divide, Grant, Albuquerque. Reading this series is good anywhere, but reading them in the places evoked by Hillerman is awesome.
Feb 18, 2009 Matt rated it it was amazing
I never tire of Hillerman. I got to read this book while flying directly over the area it was set. One of the older titles, this is where Chee first meets Mary Landon. This novel is particularly suspenseful, even for a Hillerman, as Chee is matched against a hitman who is more force than human. As always, a fun read all the way to the last page.
Jan 08, 2012 Drew rated it really liked it
Another splendid Hellerman read. Engrossing and interesting. He does a masterful job of folding Navajo myths, religion and ways into a detective/mystery story plus the description of New Mexico scenery is wonderful. And, I really like the character of Jim Chee.
Nov 10, 2015 Mary rated it it was ok
People of Darkness is the fourth book in the Navajo Mysteries series. The story begins when a car bomb goes off at a cancer hospital. From there it just gets weirder when a rich wife contacts Sgt. Jim Chee with the Navajo Tribal Police to hire him to find a stolen box. Assassins, greedy business owners, peyote smoking religious Navajos and more.

When I finished the story, I rated it 4-stars but today I'm feeling it's more of a 2-star. Why the difference? Partly because of the main character chan
Allyson Abbott
People of Darkness
Another great read by Hillerman. I know it is from the 1990s, but these stories should be labelled as classics. They are timeless and are always intriguing, enjoyable in a gentle way. People of Darkness has Jimmy Chee following clues about a private case he has been offered, but no one seems to want him to take it. In the end, he becomes involved even though it was not on his agenda. Another well written mystery that hooks the reader and takes them into the world of Native Amer
Mar 18, 2011 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have not been reading these in order, but I enjoy the pace and thoughtfulness of the action. It was nice to finally see how Chee and Mary finally meet. I'm A Huge Tony Fan. Really like what he does, and how he presents his work. Was VERY sorry when he died.
Oct 01, 2015 Alisha rated it really liked it
Shelves: comfort-food
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 23, 2013 Elaine rated it really liked it
I know I must have read this years ago (it's from 1980), but I didn't remember much about it, so that made it good to read again. I don't think I've ever read a Tony Hillerman book that I didn't like, and this was no exception. I really like Jim Chee.
On puise dans le folklore Navajo, ses coutumes, ses rites, ses traditions et ses croyances, pour dérouler le fil d'une intrigue criminelle somme toute classique (secrets, mensonges, règlements de compte, vengeance). Une promesse d'évasion garantie pour une lecture agréable. Jimmy Chee est un enquêteur méticuleux, qui privilégie la recherche et la réflexion à une poursuite frénétique sur les terres arides d'Albuquerque et du Nouveau-Mexique.
Ce roman est cependant loin de la simple promenade de sa
John Do21
Oct 14, 2014 John Do21 rated it really liked it
The first book I completed this semester is a mystery-novel called “People of Darkness”, which was written nearly 30 years ago by author Tony Hillerman. It describes the life and times of a middle-aged Navajo policeman named Jimmy Chee, who embarks on a quest throughout the Southwest (U.S.), but especially around Albuquerque, NM, to solve a simple case of theft. In the end, he eventually unveils the deadly truth about the secretive Peyote religion, a wealthy man named Mr. Vines, a stealthy assa ...more
Mark Deegan
Oct 12, 2014 Mark Deegan rated it really liked it
Love Hillerman's Navajo Mysteries. They are very consistent and evoke a place and a people which many of the best mystery series do. This one introduced Jim Chee as the primary detective. He is smart and observant like Leaphorn before him. This novel also followed the antagonist across several chapters which reminded me of several novels that switch perspective between the two forces that are heading for a collision. Forsyth's Day of the Jackal is my most vivid use of this style, but it's incred ...more
Sep 29, 2014 Heather rated it it was amazing
If you get my news feed, you can see I've been gobbling up Tony Hillerman this summer, and this title is a standout, although limited to the younger Navajo detective of Hillerman's pair of beloved sleuths. Hillerman's writing is so subtle and pervasive, a good writer shows character rather than tells it, and Hillerman expresses it with scent, sound and touch--blank space in the form of wind, the reservation badlands, the politeness of a people who let the space linger to be certain to listen wel ...more
John Williams
Jun 04, 2014 John Williams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tony-hillerman
I am trying to reread Tony Hillerman's Navaho mystery novels in roughly the order they were written. This one involves Jim Chee and is good. In the book Jim meets Mary Landon, his first love interest and solves a White man's crime whose roots go back 30 years. The title is from a Peote church and its associated Navaho group that took the mole as their totem. All the members of the original group died of cancer as the moles were carved of high grade pitchblende and worn against the skin. The unkn ...more
May 30, 2014 astaliegurec rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tony Hillerman's "People of Darkness" is the 4th of his "Leaphorn & Chee" novels and the first one featuring Jim Chee (Joe Leaphorn only makes an appearance as the originator of a telephone message). I've got to say that I'm really enjoying this series. Hillerman's writing is of a comfortable style that's very nice to read. His descriptions, his characters, and his relating of the American Indian culture are all very well done. Best of all, Hillerman makes sure the bad guys get what's coming ...more
Apr 15, 2014 Carl rated it really liked it
The fourth book in Tony Hillerman's Navajo Detectives series is “The People of Darkness.” Whereas in the first three books Lt. Joe Leaphorn is the main character; “People of Darkness" introduces Sgt. Jim Chee, a young reservation law enforcement officer who struggles to find balance between the traditional ways of the Navajo and the white man's world - and a career in the FBI.

The story begins with Jim Chee being asked by Rosemary Vines, the wife of B.J. Vines, one of the richest men in New Mexi
Sep 14, 2012 Cassandra rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
This genre isn't one that I can get into easily(I only read this because my Dad's been bugging me to try this author for a while now, and I felt I needed to expand my reading palate beyond my typical fare of YA literature and fairy tales). Spending whole books trying to find out whodunnit, where the biggest climax is finally being given the answer, appeals to me very little. Why should I care who killed Mr. Body? --unless, of course, the Butler in the Library with a Candlestick is going to show ...more
Mar 21, 2011 Kate rated it liked it
Jim Chee, Navajo Tribal Policeman, investigates the bombing of a cancer patient that is intermingled with greed, uranium mining, and a peyote cult whose fetish is the mole.

Hillerman gives a dusty shine to the barren Four Corners region that does the landscape justice. His descriptions obviously come from a place of great knowledge and respect for this area that, from the ground and sky, can seem isolated and forgotten. The character Jim Chee is on the verge of making a big career decision in hi
Chadwick Saxelid
Nov 23, 2014 Chadwick Saxelid rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Navajo Tribal Police Sergeant Jim Chee is asked by Rosemary Vines, the wife of B.J. Vines, one of the richest men in New Mexico, to find a box of her husband's keepsakes that has been stolen. Chee doesn't know if he will take the job, but his curiosity is further piqued when the local Sheriff, a man who shares a bitter and tragic history with Vines, tells Chee to leave the matter alone. Then Vines calls upon Chee and tells him to forget the whole thing, the contents of the keepsake box were not ...more
Feb 25, 2012 Dale rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of Hillerman's best

Read by George Guidall
Duration: About 7 hours.

People of Darkness is one of Hillerman's best and happens to be the first of the Jim Chee novels. It is set, like most of Hillerman's mysteries, in the Navajo reservation in the Four Corners Area. In this case, Jim Chee is working in the southeast corner of the reservation, in an area commonly called the "Checkerboard" because it consists of a series of parcels of reservation and privately-held land parcels that are intersper
Struggled between 2 and 3 stars. I enjoyed the read, though it was just brief (more short story than novel). The main character was a police officer on the cusp of deciding whether to rejoin his family and traditional living or continue in the white man's world as an FBI agent. Queue the local mystery. The woman introduced to be his friend/love interest was terribly 2-dimensional - hated her. HOWEVER, I did find the actual mystery to be a satisfying one. And I appreciated that it was because a d ...more
Morris Graham
Feb 19, 2015 Morris Graham rated it it was amazing
Members of a Peyote cult are being murdered. Chee asked by a rich man's wife to find a missing box. A local sheriff warns Chee to stay out of it. A hired killer stalks his prey... Definitely one of Hillerman's best works. The author weaves his tale with threads of Navajo culture, terrain, weather, and people, all told as an expert craftsman. The muder mystery was unveiled slowly, but in truth, I didn't figure it out until Chee reveals it. This had a lot of action, intrigue, and a bonus of introd ...more
Tony Hillerman branches out and introduces a second Navajo tribal police officer as a protagonist, this one markedly different from his first. Where Joe Leaphorn is more stoic, Jim Chee is more demonstrative and emotional. Where Joe is more comfortably settled in the time, place and culture he inhabits, Jim is pulled between two worlds, that of the (mainly white) mainstream American law enforcement community and larger society, and that of his heritage, where he is studying to be a Navajo shaman ...more
Nov 02, 2013 Judy rated it really liked it
Published in 1980 and set in the Checkerboard--a series of reservation lands interspersed with private holdings in the southeast corner of the Navajo reservation in the Four Corners area. This is also the first Tony Hillerman novel to feature Navajo Tribal Police Sergeant Jim Chee. Chee is trying to decide whether to join the FBI--he's already passed all of the tests and has been invited to training in Quantico, Virginia or to remain in New Mexico to continue studying to be a Navajo singer or Sh ...more
May 01, 2013 Subier rated it really liked it
It's a mystery, People of Darkness by Tony Hillerman is a tale of mystery and mouse chases.

Tony spins a tale about a Tribal Policeman named Jim Chee, Chee is called out to a wealthy man's estate by his wife to collect a stolen box of her husband's keepsakes. She tells him that a group by the name, "People of Darkness" may have taken the box. Now it's up to Chee to solve this mystery and get the box back. While reading I really liked the way Hillerman delivered the scenes such as the beginning,
Feb 21, 2010 Patty rated it really liked it
Tony Hillerman introduces us to Jim Chee in this episode of his marvelous series of Navajo police. Chee is facing a big decision, should he join the FBI (he has passed the tests and been asked to go to Quantico), or should he remain in New Mexico as a policeman, while staying to continue learning to be a singer?

While he is debating this decision he is drawn into a case of simple burglary that just continues to grow and expand, including oil rig explosions, dead bodies disappearing and suddenly b
Mark Luongo
Apr 02, 2016 Mark Luongo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery fans, Native American folklore
Recommended to Mark by: Previous titles in there series.
Don't be like me and read these in snippets. Take the time to read and enjoy. You miss something when you read in bits and pieces, you have to put the clues together.
This Hillerman mystery features Tribal Policeman Sergeant Jim Chee and, I believe, introduces the character of Mary Landon. Once again Navajo lore & spirituality are dominant themes and just a flat out good detective story to boot.
Mary Ellen
This is my second read - I ran through all of Hillerman's mysteries beginning in the 1990's and loved them.

This time around, it took a little while for this one to grow on me. Jim Chee was meeting one jerk of a white person after another - a Mrs. Vines, her husband, a local sheriff - and it seemed heavier on the jerks than on Jim Chee. I grew more engaged once Chee was more or less on his own, trying to learn about a decades-old event as a way of solving unsavory behavior in the present.

Sep 09, 2014 Betty rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-books
Jim Chee, a Navajo policeman is summons by Mrs Vines and offer a cash reward for him to locate her husband's lockbox which stolen from his safe. It is not his jurisdiction; however his curiosity was arise. He finds that story goes back to a cold case of oil well explosion. While finding the individuals that escape the blast Jim and Mary Land on oversees a murder committed. The killer stalks them going after Jim first. He must discover the answer before he is killed
This book kept my attention so
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Leaphorn & Chee (1 - 10 of 21 books)
  • The Blessing Way (Leaphorn & Chee, #1)
  • Dance Hall of the Dead (Leaphorn & Chee, #2)
  • Listening Woman (Leaphorn & Chee, #3)
  • The Dark Wind (Leaphorn & Chee, #5)
  • The Ghostway (Leaphorn & Chee, #6)
  • Skinwalkers (Leaphorn & Chee, #7)
  • A Thief of Time (Leaphorn & Chee, #8)
  • Talking God (Leaphorn & Chee, #9)
  • Coyote Waits (Leaphorn & Chee, #10)
  • Sacred Clowns (Leaphorn & Chee, #11)

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