People of Darkness (Navajo Mysteries, #4)
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People of Darkness (Navajo Mysteries #4)

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  3,536 ratings  ·  119 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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David Harris
* 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...more
Drew
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.
David
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
Carl
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...more
Heather
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
Matt
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.
Susan  Odetta
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.
Carol
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.
Elaine
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.
John Williams
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
Cassandra
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
Kate Savage
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...more
Chadwick Saxelid
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
Dale
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 interspers...more
James
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
Judy
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
Subier
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,...more
Patty
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...more
Frank Taranto
The first book in which Jim Chee appears. He is an interesting character torn between wanting to be a Navajo Shaman and joining the FBI. Mrs Vines, the wife of a rich mineral speculator, hires him to get her husband's box back. What's in the box, and why, is the question. That leads to another question, what does it have to do with the People of Darkness, a Navojo sect who use peyote to get visions of God and use a mole as the talismatic symbol.
Filled with intersting characters, from Chee himsel...more
Diana
I really like Tony Hillerman's novels set in the 4 corners areas. Makes me sad to think there will be no new ones.
This story's main character is Jim Chee. He is a Navajo Tribal policeman. In this story, a rich lady (Mrs Vines) asks him to come to her home and she offers him a private job. Her husband is ill and away and someone has stolen a box out of the safe. No, this has not been reported to the local sheriff. Chee knows that something isn't on the up and up about this. Chee talks to the lo...more
Bob
PB - An old paperback that someone left in the library and one that I haven't read yet. Featuring Sgt. Jim Chee who is asked to do some sleuthing on the side to find a Box of memorabilia stolen from the house of a very rich businessman. He runs into the local Sheriff who tries to warn him off taking the job. Jim becomes curious though when people involved turn up dead and he come under attack himself. The case draws him back many years to an explosion at a test oil well rig that killed some work...more
Ted L.
Like all Hillerman books, this one is easy to read, includes a wealth of information on Navaho culture, and is well written. Good book to read.
Angela
This is the introduction of officer Jim Chee. Chee is torn between two possible life paths: he can begin his training in 30 days to become an FBI officer or he can complete his training with his uncle to become a Navajo singer (medicine man). In preparation for both these things he is immersed in studying the white man's world, and this case is the perfect example of the differences. A few pieces of the mystery I was able to guess myself but many of the big reveals came as a surprise. The charac...more
Martha
Ok. Not the best. No leaphorn, just chee. Think thats why I didn't enjoy as much
Kevin
Will want to read more by this author. It was great story, but not too intense.
Marie Fouhey
Intricate plotting and fascinating descriptions of the southwestern landscape.
Shannon
Good story - well paced and thought out with a great ending to tie it all together. My only complaint is Chee's wanting to get to know Mary who seemed like an uptight little witch (at first) . . .didn't understand that. The story centers on a well / dig site whereIndians and white men had worked many years before. There'd been an explosion, killing the white crew but the Indians had been warned away. Hillerman did a great job of weaving the storyline together and building to the end. The method...more
Hanna Soltow
A solid mystery novel, perfect for a hot, lazy Saturday afternoon.
Kiana Kapoi
This was a surprisingly good book because I had to read it for an anthropology class. It got off to a slow start but once it did get started it was hard to put it down. This book gives you a glimpse of the Navajo culture. The main character struggles between the modern world and the world of his ancestors while trying to solve a case. I feel that the author really understood what it is like to be a Navajo and the temptations they face in today’s society. This book had some Navajo words but the a...more
Elvira
I especially enjoyed the explanation of names and naming in Chapter 12. Personally, I am more aligned and inclined to think of names (personal and place names) the same way, even as a youngster. I don't see anything wrong with changing names :)
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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
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