The Spirit Woman
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Spirit Woman (Wind River Reservation #6)

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  571 ratings  ·  45 reviews
According to legend, Sacajawea--the Native American woman who helped guide the Lewis and Clark expedition through the American wilderness--is buried on the Wind River Reservation. Now, a college professor--and longtime friend of Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden--has disappeared while seeking the truth behind the legend. Vicky and Father John O'Malley soon discover that her mi...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published August 1st 2001 by Berkley Books (first published 1901)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 851)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
I enjoyed this book. It is a book about violence towards women - domestic violence. It is a book about wanting to believe, refusing to accept the facts (even when they're staring you in the face) whether it's for the love of a man or a love for history. Also, it's about the need to belong somewhere, about wanting to hold the broken pieces together even as they crumble in your hands. Even for the men, it's about losing yourself in drink, desperation and turning to violence in order to subdue (or...more
Timothy Stone
It seems like sometimes the most compelling mystery fiction is that in which the protagonist is not a law-enforcement official, but an amateur sleuth. Though I imagine that this interest goes back quite some time, I would also guess that we probably owe this to the fiction writers of the 19th and 20th centuries, including such literary heavyweights as Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, and G. K. Chesterton.

The formula is fairly standard. Take a character that conceivably has nothing at a...more
Oct 26, 2008 June rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: mystery, native american
Recommended to June by: Cheryl
This one got a little heavy for me with all the abuse. The back and forth of whether wife beaters can change was wierd and confusing. I did find the idea of the "will to believe" was interesting. The climactic scence of Vicky and Father John was a bit much for me too. However, I have ordered the next in the series.
Jan C
Feb 07, 2009 Jan C rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Tony Hillerman fans
This was the first book I read in the Vicky Holden-Father John series. It brings in shades of Sacajawea, the Shoshone woman who guided Lewis and Clark. She had apparently told an agent's wife the story of her adventure and several historians have disappeared on the Wind River Reservation looking for this story.

I only picked this up for the historical reference. That was the hook for me.

The two books I have read since don't really measure up to this book. Not this book was perfect.

The author rea...more
Another good mystery involving Father John O'Malley and Arapaho attorney Vicki Holden. The setting is the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. This involves the mystery of what happened to Sacajaweea, what happened after she left the Lewis and Clark expedition, and where is she really buried.
Twenty years ago a young female historian was investigating the above mystery and she diappeared. Father O'Malley's dog, Walks on Three Legs, unearths a skeleton. Is this the lady that went missing so many ye...more
Father John and Vicki Holden are on a dangerous path, getting more and more entangled in each other's emotional lives, and they both know it. They both react differently to the realization, however, thus continuing the tension.

They are, however, forced into the usual role of working to figure out what happened to Sacajawea's memoirs, which historians have long discounted. The "official" record says that they were destroyed in a fire, but a Denver history professor (and friend of Vicki's) has jus...more
Jan 21, 2014 Betty rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: mystery, history, Native American Indians
Margaret Coel's books on the Wind River Reservation are the best books I have read on this subject. The series is center
around Father John, a priest on the reservation and Vicky Holden an Arapahoe woman lawyer .
Father John has been order to leave the reservation and Vickey is trying to reconcile with her ex-husband. Father John finds a grave near the river and Vicky's friend is missing. The story touches on spousal abuse and the reactions of individuals involved.
Vicky's friend is searching Sacaj...more
Coel continues to write good mysteries surrounded by excellent characters and weaves in the history of the Shoshone and Arapahoe Indians.

In this book a friend of Vicki's from college comes to the reservation to research Sacajawea and the tales of the elders about her time among them. History says that Sacajawea died as a relatively young woman but Shoshone history claims she lived to be almost 100. She told tales to all who would listen of her time with the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

When the re...more
Book number 6 of this series and the author included a lot of information about Sacajawea. I seem to find books more interesting when they include real people from the past in the stories.
Margaret Coel's book is part of a series with a Native American woman and a Catholic priest as the main characters. In reading it one senses that while the main characters are strong individuals the priest is the stronger of the two. Each has there own personality problem, he a recovering alcoholic, she is an abused spouse (ex-spouse) with the psychological issues it brings. At the end of this book she has a page explaining the plot in historical perspective a la Bernard Cornwell.
However, I mus...more
Sherrill Watson
Not quite as interesting as any of the Hillerman books, but quite good. Father John O'Malley (very Irish) and Vicky Holden, a big-city lawyer, fight crime on the Arapaho reservation. This is one of a series of books, the first I've read, so I don't know how the others measure up. I'm comparing them to Tony Hillerman's books. The Spirit Woman refers to Sacajawea, a supposed diary of someone who knew about her trip had written.
another good story from coel
This is another of the Wind River series that pairs Fr. John O'Malley with Arapaho lawyer, VIcky Holden, to solve a murder. This one involves the death of two scholars, twenty years apart, who are on the trail of written memoirs supposedly dictated to an Indian agent's wife by Sacajawea of Lewis and Clark fame. The thread running through the mystery and the female character's lives is that of domestic abuse. Not my favorite in the series, but still a thoughtful page-turner.
Katherine P
I really thought I was having a hard time getting into this book but somehow before I knew it I was sucked in and had read 2/3 of it in 1 sitting. As always Coel does a fantastic job with character development and atmosphere. I found the interweaving of domestic violence with the historical aspect of Sacajawea very well done and fascinating. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more of Coel in the future.
Jeanne Grunert
Excellent book! I love discovering mystery series that are this good, because there are many more books to read fro this author. I like Tony Hillerman's mysteries that are set among the Navaho people. and this is similar except we are among Arapaho and Shosone people. The main characters are likable and believable. Recommended.
Crystal C
This was by far my least favorite book in the series -- everything about this book was clunky, from the dialogue to the plot line, to the unbelievable twists and turns that the murder investigation took. Because I have loved the previous books so much, I will pick up the next one to see if it is any better.
Fredrick Danysh
After eight years with the Arapaho, Father O'Malley receives the long dreaded transfer orders away from the reservation. Meanwhile two historians researching a legend are murdered twenty years apart. Since Father O'Malley fouund the remains of the first, he becomes involved in the investigation.
Nov 04, 2012 joyce rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Hillerman fans?
Recommended to joyce by: personal research
Shelves: mystery
If you like Tony Hillerman, you'll probably like Margaret Coel. Not as much about Native American beliefs, but more about Arapaho and Shoshone, in particular Sacajawea, history. Also delves into the cultural aspects of Native American society within the larger white American society.
Mar 20, 2008 Phil rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Cyndee
Shelves: mysteries
Satisfying. Nicely done mystery. This my first foray into the escapades of this dynamic duo, a Jesuit priest at mission in Wyoming and his Arapaho side-kick, a woman who broke out of her tribal expectations and became a lawyer. Ms. Coel captures the atmosphere and relates vividly.
Jeff Dickison
The best Vicky Holden & Father John mystery that I have read yet. Naturally, they're involved in a murder mystery. This time it is two historians who are killed while pursuing the rumored written history of Sacajawea. End of book marks a new beginning for Vicky. Recommended.
#6 in the Arapaho Wind River Reservation mystery series set in Wyoming and featuring Father John O'Malley and Arapaho lawyer Vicky Holden. The story line revolves the abuse of women while dealing with murder and whether Sacajawea really lived and died on the reservation.
Margaret Coel's Wind River mysteries are excellent. A blend of Shoshone culture and history, the grit of an ex-alcoholic priest with his own demons, a mystery that needs solving and everyday life that keeps intruding. I highly recommend anything by Margaret Coel.
Samyuktha jayaprakash
Solid characters , nice plot with a mix of history and murder and a banter about battering equals a very interesting and an engaging good read! =)
Only 1 point - if only the mystery was focused on more.

surely gonna chk the series out!
I liked the fact that it was tied to history of Lewis and Clark (Sacajawea). The book seemed much like Tony Hillerman without the interesting character and setting descriptions. Not sure if I will read more of Ms. Coel's mysteries.
The "res" is invaded by a new priest to join John and historians researching Sacajawea. Then the mysteries begin.
Coel still manages to cool the relationship of John with Vicki--or is it Vicki with John?
Another enjoyable read.
One of the better stories. Fast moving. The body of a woman historian who disappeared 20 years ago has been found and another woman historian has gone missing. Father John and Vicky find out who is behind it all and why.
I did not enjoy this book as much as a previous one in this series. They are all written according to a formula, and maybe I just don't appreciate it. I do appreciate the information on American Indians
Jun 10, 2008 Carolyn rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: anyone who loves a good mystery
I love a good mystery, and this is one. Based on enough fact for the mystery to be compelling, the characters realistic, as is the love interest. I wish there were more books were like this.
Bruce Snell
Pretty good story - although too similar to some of her other work to really be first rate. The history lessons about Sacajawea made up for any other weaknesses though, and worth a read.
Number 6 in the series is another good book - worth reading.
Coel has a way of developing her characters on the res that makes you want to read the next adventures of Father John & Vickey.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 28 29 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Cry Dance
  • The Shaman's Game
  • The Wailing Wind (Navajo Mysteries, #15)
  • Bone Hunter (Em Hansen Mystery, #5)
  • Blackening Song (Ella Clah, #1)
  • A Fine And Bitter Snow (Kate Shugak, #12)
  • The Chinese Alchemist (Lara McClintoch, #11)
Margaret Coel is the New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of the acclaimed novels featuring Father John O'Malley and Vicky Holden, as well as several works of nonfiction. Originally a historian by trade, she is considered an expert on the Arapaho Indians.
More about Margaret Coel...
The Eagle Catcher (Wind River Reservation, #1) The Ghost Walker (Wind River Reservation, #2) The Lost Bird (Wind River Reservation, #5) Killing Raven (Wind River Reservation, #9) The Thunder Keeper (Wind River Reservation, #7)

Share This Book