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The Blessing Way (Navajo Mysteries #1)

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  11,714 ratings  ·  427 reviews
When Lt. Joe Leaphorn of The Navajo Tribal Police discovers a corpse with a mouth full of sand at a crime scene seemingly without tracks or clues, he is ready to suspect a supernatural killer. Blood on the rocks...A body on the high mesa...Leaphorn must stalk the Wolf-Witch along a chilling trail between mysticism and murder.
Paperback, 294 pages
Published March 7th 1990 by HarperTorch (first published 1970)
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Amy Denton The Four Corners is an area in the Southwest U.S. where four states meet. The four states are Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah meet. There is a…moreThe Four Corners is an area in the Southwest U.S. where four states meet. The four states are Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah meet. There is a monument there as that is the only place in the U.S. where four states meet. The Four Corners area is also the dividing line between the Navajo Nation and the Ute Tribe.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Brian
Oct 06, 2013 Brian rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Navahos and paint ponies
Hillerman is chocolate. Read him at the beach, read him before bed, but read him. Then you too will belong to the high plains, the canyons and mesas of the desert Southwest. You will think and speak differently, quietly, thoughtfully. You will find the wound in the floor of the kiva, a melody which is a wound in silence, and you will follow, like Alice down the rabbit hole.
Dirk Grobbelaar
It's been mentioned in other reviews, but this particular book does seem to suffer from a bit of an identity crisis: it doesn't quite seem sure of its main protagonist. You'd think it would be Joe Leaphorn, but it just may not be after all.

That said, it's certainly a rather interesting book. Navajo symbolism and mythology permeate the writing to such an extent that I initially found it somewhat difficult to follow the story, but once you get used to the writing style it actually reads quite fast
...more
Penny
I actually read this quite a long time ago and I don't remember the details, but I've never read a Tony Hillerman I didn't like.

This is the first of Hillerman's Joe Leaphorn/Jim Chee/Navajo Reservation mysteries, and I read in an interview that it has so many inaccuracies about Navajo culture that it now makes him cringe. Apparently, though, the Navajo people were quite pleased with his respectful interest in their culture, and they liked the book despite whatever weaknesses it may have. Of cour
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Bill  Kerwin

This first book in the Joe Leaphorn series features an exciting conclusion, but it also features two heroes instead of one (Ethnologist Bergen McKee gets more pages than Leaphorn), and I don't think it is always clear where the focus of the novel is supposed to be. The ethnic information about witchcraft beliefs among the Navaho is interesting, but not always properly integrated into the narrative. This is, however, his first detective novel. It is well-written, I hear he is one of the masters o
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Eric
Jan 08, 2015 Eric rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of mysteries
As a mystery fan, I had been meaning to check this series out for a while. But it wasn't until I spent a rainy weekend in Napa and took temporary shelter in a lovely used bookstore that I saw a paperback copy and finally picked it up. It may be my best used bookstore impulse buy ever, and I have made quite a few of those.

There is not much new I can add to the conversation about the mystery handled by Arizona Navajo Tribal Police Lt. Joe Leaphorn in this novel, being that was originally published
...more
Book Concierge
3.5***

From the dust jacket: When Lt. Joe Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal Police discovers a corpse with a mouth full of sand at a crime scene seemingly without tracks or clues, he is ready to suspect a supernatural killer. Blood on the rocks … a body on the high mesa … Leaphorn must stalk the Wolf-Witch along a chilling trail between mysticism and murder.

This is the first in the series featuring Leaphorn. Hillerman weaves in considerable Navajo lore in this very real story of murder and mayhem. T
...more
James
The first of a brilliant series of detective novels. The protagonist is a Navajo tribal police detective and the story is immersed in Navajo culture and the look and feel of the Four Corners region of the southwestern United States.

As a near-native New Mexican (lived here since I was four) I recognized my homeland and the personalities of a lot of people who live here more strongly here than in any other author's work. On top of that authenticity, the result of extensive research and a flawless
...more
Sandi
This, the first book in the long running Joe Leaphorn series, was an Edgar nominee for best first mystery back in 1971 and was a good listen on audio. I did think it started out a bit slow though but about half way through it picked up the pace. The narration was done by the always excellent George Guidall.
Simona
I really liked the style of writing and the setting in this book. I think I'll continue to dwell on this series for a while.
Julie Davis
I read a slew of Tony Hillerman's books back in the day and liked them.

When I was reading Cold Dish (which I quit halfway through, skipped to the end to see the killer ... nailed it, btw) I felt like Cold Dish was kind of sappy and sentimental.

Then I realized that the feeling I wanted (western culture, unsentimental, good mystery) was there all along! Or that is my guess. Early in rereading this book and have realized that I really don't remember anything about it at all but am loving it. Read
...more
Casceil
The Blessing Way introduces Joe Leaphorn, a Navajo tribal policeman who investigates crimes on the reservation. As a cop, he is a little bit in the style of an Andy Griffith type sheriff--easygoing, good with people, more interested in promoting harmony than in making arrests, but dedicated to preventing bad guys from doing harm. As a Navajo himself, he is not only fluent in the language but also knowledgeable about diplomatic niceties and protocol: when to use which form of respectful address, ...more
Heath Lowrance
Many of the reviews here have already pointed out that this first book in the long-running series about Navajo Tribal Policeman Joe Leaphorn has its problems. As a mystery, it's a little weak, the narrative is clunky, the characters not exactly finely-drawn. All true. It's also been pointed out that the stuff relating to Navajo traditions and mythology is fascinating and nicely done. That, too, is true, and is THE BLESSING WAY's saving grace.

It should be noted that Leaphorn is not the main chara
...more
Nannette Serra
I've read all of Tony Hillerman's books so this is the only review of them that I am going to write because once you read one, you will want to read them all. I like Western movies, both the cowboys and the Indians. One of the things I learned about the Navajo made me love their culture. Hillerman writes that, when they first meet, they don't really talk business until everyone has had a chance to repeat their genealogy. Apparently they keep going through the oral history of their people until t ...more
Mary
My daughter picked this to use for a book project in school, and since it had been ages since I read Hillerman I decided to read it again when she was finished. It is the first in his Navajo series, and while it is good, it isn't as well done as the later stories. And I had nearly forgotten about the 'Leaphorn before Chee' books! Hillerman has a wonderful way of incorporating cultural issues and information into his books; there is always some conflict between the ways of the white man and the N ...more
Shannon
Very interesting setting and I really enjoyed the descriptions of the Indian way of life, etc. I kind of saw the ending/resolution coming though. I've read some of the other reviews of the next few books in this series and yes, there is lot more of Bergen in this story than Leaprock but I am excited to see how the series progresses.
Moira Russell
Wow, this book is TERRIBLE. Now I know why an EngLit teacher started us off with Dance Hall in a course on mysteries and genre. I doubt I'll finish it except I'm still (STILL) sick and there's a lot of shitstorms whirling around per usual and I need distraction. But oh Jesus it's bad.
Julia
I must admit that initially I was so excited to read this book. I grew up in the US and I wanted to read something that I could relate to with all of the Native American aspects of this story. I was sorely, sorely disappointed, however. It unfortunately followed the trend of so many masculine crime novels where there are just too many characters who are alternately referenced by their first and last names making it even harder to develop an understanding of their personalities, relationships and ...more
Leah
The mood of this book is definitely its saving grace. It is a little clumsily written, and the narrative can be confusing, but seen as its Mr Hillerman's first book in what became a well-respected and unique series, it's totally forgivable. Learning about Navajo culture was fascinating, although from what I understand, this book has some misrepresentations that he makes up for in later novels. This is my first Hillerman read and it won't be my last. I'm glad I read the first book first because i ...more
Dale
Published by Borders/Recorded books in 1990.
Narrated by George Guidall.
Duration: Approximately 6 hours, 30 minutes.


The Blessing Way is the first of the Leaphorn books but, ironically, Leaphorn is a mere supporting character throughout most of the second half of the book. College professor/archaeologist Bergen McKee is the main character - the one who has the most growth and teaches the reader the most about Navajo society and culture.

Nevertheless, The Blessing Way is an enjoyable book. I hav
...more
Kristin
This is the first book in Tony Hillerman’s Navaho mysteries, and the first of three with Joe Leaphorn. I’ve already reviewed Listening Woman and Dance Hall of the Dead. What I appreciated was I didn’t find that the books had to be read in order. And I’m almost glad I read them out of order since the first book featuring Lt. Joe Leaphorn was definitely not the strongest of the three. I also “read” this on audio book.

Premise of the book revolves around a body found out in the canyon country on the
...more
Brianna
Mar 07, 2012 Brianna rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in crime, murder mysteries, Native American culture
In high school I was basically obsessed with Tony Hillerman books. Not really sure why, but I was. I tried to read all of his books in my school's library. The only thing I didn't like what I couldn't really figure out the order of the books, and so I read them out of order.
These books are great. They are from a point of view from a cop who is caught between two words: Navajo and white. He treads back and forth between those lines, trying to find a balance while solving murders.
Tony Hillerman
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Robby
Jan 26, 2013 Robby rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those interested & Tony Hillerman Fans
Recommended to Robby by: Self
This being the first book of the Joe Leaphorn series had some rough edges to it;(IMO). I thought character realization somewhat vague early on. I don't know if it is always clear where the focus of the novel is supposed to be. But that could be just my lack or grasp of the different switchbacks of the Navajo and related Indian languages used/referenced in telling this tale. A little difficult to get into for me for about two-thirds of the book. Still, I found the story entertaining and education ...more
Lee
This is Hillerman's first Navajo Mystery, introducing Joe Leaphorn.
With vivid sense of place, Navajo legends and myths, a very original plot. Good suspense in this 1970 debut. I will want to get into his Leaphorn & Jim Chee mysteries that take place in Hillerman's adopted home state of New Mexico. 3.5 stars.
Betty
This is,the first book I have read by Tony Hillerman but it won't be the last. I found it well written and descriptions of southwest landscape and Indian culture very interesting. This book introduces Joe Leaphorn and the police procedural on the Navajo Indian Reservation.
Bergan McKee, an researcher on Indian myths and Jeremy Canfield arrived in the Lukachukai Mts for the summer to explore their field of study. They expect the arrival of Ellen Leon who is looking for her fiancee.
Joe Leaphorn is
...more
Quinn
The first novel by Tony Hillerman. Luis Horseman is wanted by the law and Lt. Leaphorn is looking for him. Horseman turns up dead several hundred miles from where he is suspected of hiding. McKee is a professor trying to learn about Indian witchcraft and if it is real or not. There have been sightings of a wolf that turns into a man and vice versa. Lt. Leaphorn and Mr. Mckee soon discover that things are not how they appear and that their lives are in danger. Tony Hillerman is one of my favorite ...more
Frank Taranto
Someone is acting as a Navajo witch.
A young man who is running from the law is killed in a strange way and dragged out to be found.
Bergen McKee, a divorced professor of Native American studies is back home trying to get more data on Navajo witches.
Ellen Leon is seaching for her fiancee to talk to him about something important.
Detective Joe Leaphorn must figure out how all these things fit together and find the killer of the young man.
This story is mostly about Bergen McKee and hnis search to fi
...more
Kate
This mystery features Joe Leaphorn, a Navajo Tribal Policeman, as he investigates a murder that looks like witchcraft.

The story is set in New Mexico. I was reading this during and after a trip to the Four Corners area. I think that helped to get me more into the story. I was able to picture the desolate, yet amazingly beautiful landscape. The text is peppered with Navajo language and customs. At times the relationships between people can be difficult to discern, which points to the complexity o
...more
Lory
If you are interested in Native Americans, Tony Hillerman is the author for you. I've read all his fiction books and learned a lot while I was being entertained. I was deeply saddened when I learned he had passed on several years ago, I don't think there was one of his books that wasn't a well written mystery and a great read. There is a lot of information and stories on Native American religion and folklore that is woven into every book.

I'd recommend every book written by Hillerman - try one i
...more
Deb
This is the first Joe Leaphorn novel. His character is introduced matter-of-factly, with no fanfare. In fact his character is not the main focus in this novel. I've read other novels in the series so I decided it was time to go back the the start. The main character is an anthropologist who has returned to the reservation to study Navajo witchcraft, along with a colleague who mysteriously disappears. Is it witchcraft or is there a different explanation? Once again the desert landscape becomes a ...more
Nicole
While I do not believe a Navajo raised without his tribe would of necessity become such a cold blooded killer for money, however if a Navajo should happen to become a killer I can see why he would be the best option to blend in when attempting to steal military secrets from a base near the reservation. I do believe murder would be done for espionage but they are coming a beyond what is necessary in this story. It seems there would have been at least one attempt to get the anthropologists to try ...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...

Other Books in the Series

Navajo Mysteries (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • Dance Hall of the Dead (Navajo Mysteries, #2)
  • Listening Woman (Navajo Mysteries, #3)
  • People of Darkness (Navajo Mysteries, #4)
  • The Dark Wind (Navajo Mysteries, #5)
  • The Ghostway (Navajo Mysteries, #6)
  • Skinwalkers (Navajo Mysteries, #7)
  • A Thief of Time (Navajo Mysteries, #8)
  • Talking God (Navajo Mysteries, #9)
  • Coyote Waits (Navajo Mysteries, #10)
  • Sacred Clowns (Navajo Mysteries, #11)
Skinwalkers (Navajo Mysteries, #7) A Thief of Time (Navajo Mysteries, #8) Listening Woman (Navajo Mysteries, #3) Dance Hall of the Dead (Navajo Mysteries, #2) The Ghostway (Navajo Mysteries, #6)

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“Beyond meeting simple immediate needs, the Navajo Way placed little worth on property. In fact, being richer than one’s clansmen carried with it a social stigma. It was unnatural, and therefore suspicious.” 0 likes
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