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A Thief of Time (Leaphorn & Chee #8)

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,661 Ratings  ·  311 Reviews
At a moonlit Indian ruin—where "thieves of time" ravage sacred ground in the name of profit—a noted anthropologist vanishes while on the verge of making a startling, history-altering discovery. At an ancient burial site, amid stolen goods and desecrated bones, two corpses are discovered, shot by bullets fitting the gun of the missing scientist.

There are modern mysteries bu
ebook, 352 pages
Published October 6th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 1988)
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Janice Scott I can't find one either and have no idea why not.

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Nov 05, 2015 Carmen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery Fans
Recommended to Carmen by: Library
It wasn't the sort of friendship that needed answers.

This was a great Hillerman novel, I really enjoyed it.

This is the second book where Leaphorn and Chee are teaming up to solve a mystery. Both are going through some problems.

Leaphorn is struggling to deal with(view spoiler) This has left him a heartbroken, miserable shell of a man. He's even decided to quit the force, now just working out his last two weeks before it's all over for good.

Tony Hillerman's mystery series set in the Navajo Nation includes 18 books written by him over 4 decades. I used to read these with my Mom who was born in New Mexico and raised in the Southwest U.S. so they have special interest for us. It's many, many years since I've read one of these old-school mysteries and I loved returning to them in A Thief of Time. A Thief of Time is someone who steals bones and artifacts from Native American ruins, of which they are thousands in the Four Corners area of ...more
Aug 05, 2009 Maureen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All Hillerman fans
Recommended to Maureen by: myself
Just out of plain curiosity. I have read many of Hillermans books, but this one escaped me, so now, I am checking it out for many reasons.

Oh my goodness, how I have let Hillermans writings slip past me for so long I have no idea! I received a gift card to Barnes & Noble and yesterday went to the store and really stocked up on his books.

He is so talented in his writings, and so sorry he has now passed away and no longer will we be blessed with his works. But "A Thief of Time" is amazing and k
Laura Cowan
Feb 17, 2013 Laura Cowan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tony Hillerman is so incredibly readable. I turn to Hillerman and intellectual mystery writers to unwind, and it never gets old. Yes, it's a teeny tiny bit formulaic just like most western style hunts for a missing person or an outlaw, but the characters are deep, the scenery is detailed, and the plot anything but contrived. I mean no disrespect when I say this is my beach reading. Great for an exciting and still relaxing read.
Amber Foxx
Mar 03, 2015 Amber Foxx rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I’ve read this book before. I recently read a sequel to it, Anne Hillerman’s Spider Woman’s Daughter. I knew what was going to happen, and yet I got totally wrapped up every page. Hillerman’s writing is perfectly measured, exactly the right pace and depth for each scene. The author knew his characters fully. Joe Leaphorn’s and Jim Chee’s lives, thoughts, feelings, personalities and their approaches to solving a crime are more interesting than simply finding out “whodunit.” That’s what I love abo
Patrick Gibson
The Thief of time is a beautifully written and observed piece. It is thriller, mystery, life, saga and page turner. Jim Chee is set on detecting just who has stolen the flat bed truck from the police depot - a theft that seems to be more about buck passing within the force rather than detection. While he is supposed to be watching a back hoe is stolen from the depot.

Meantime Joe Leaphorn, only days away from retirement after the death of his beloved, Emma, is put on to a case of Grave Robbing.
Jun 02, 2011 Patty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent addition to the Hillerman stories set in Navaho lands in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah. Both Leaphorn and Chee are in this one which, to me, makes it a better story. I think the two complement each other and add some richness to the backstory as well as to the main story of murder.

Chee is brought into the story because someone steals a backhoe while he is patrolling a local business, it had complained about people breaking in and taking a truck. Leaphorn is searching for a mis
Sep 02, 2015 Glenda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've heard it mentioned several times that this was author Tony Hillerman's own favorite of his Leaphorn/Chee series. It is now one of my favorites of the series, too. Once the arc of the story is established, there is a satisfying combination of action and character development. The introspection of the primary characters (and some of the minor characters as well) actually complements the plot and makes the action more believable.

The only thing that would have made it a more enjoyable read woul
Aug 02, 2015 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, crime
A really good read. If you like your crime thrillers to be smart, suspenseful throughout, characters with some depth and dashing so of humor then this is the book for you. The book takes place on a Navajo reservation and is one of a series with a Navajo detective called Leaphorn. I had recently gone through a run of fictional heroes whose ability to bear pain crossed over from the heroic into these people are some serious perverts. So it was a great relief to be left in the hands of a smart man ...more
Apr 24, 2016 Thomas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Navajo policemen Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee are working on two separate cases that merge in this excellent story. Leaphorn is looking for a missing woman and Chee is looking for a murderer. Hillerman does a very good job of explaining relevant Navajo traditions. This is a solid 4 out of 5 stars book.
kostas  vamvoukakis
Πολύ καλό αστυνομικό στους ινδιανους της σύγχρονης Αμερικής.πολύ καλά δουλεμένη και πολύπλοκη ιστορία.συστηνεται πολύ άνετα σε όλους
Jul 18, 2012 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, retro-books
I have read Hillerman books before, and I believe that I read this one when I was in high school. Considering I graduated in 1995, it has been a while. I found this book on the shelf of our condo rental in New Mexico. Being very close to the setting of the book, and having recently traveled though Western New Mexico, I was reminded of how well Hillerman wrote about places, giving accurate descriptions while making the setting blend into the plot. The mystery was excellent, and I wasn't sure who, ...more
Martha Newman
Nov 18, 2013 Martha Newman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this one because I had recently read the continuation of the series that Anne Hillerman, daughter of Tony Hillerman (May 27, 1925 – October 26, 2008) published this year and I wanted to compare father/daughter. Like most of Hillerman's books this was very enjoyable and his main characters show us a view into Navajo culture that we could not otherwise see. These are not action thrillers--instead the mystery flows (one might even say "oozes") like a peaceful tributary. I was amazed how fait ...more
May 02, 2016 Patricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tony Hillerman creates a sense of place so strong and compelling you forget this is a mystery and just get caught up in the land, its people, and its history. More mystical than mystery, this is a beautifully crafted story with full-bodied characters and insight into the religion and culture of the Navajo and Anasazi tribes. This is the second time I have read it and it reminded me that I need to catch up on other Hillerman titles, so I now have a pleasant summertime of reading ahead of me.
Mar 07, 2012 Brianna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 i
Scott Whitney
Mar 13, 2016 Scott Whitney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is not the first time I read this book, but it is the first time since joining goodreads. This is the Leaphorn and Chee I grew up with and the mystery which got me hooked on Hillerman in the first place. I love working my way through his books and finding the resolution of the mystery. I do find myself reading these very fast and it is too often I find myself at the end before I am ready to be there.
Craig Sisterson
I really enjoyed A THIEF OF TIME, and was glad I'd finally got around to reading a book by Hillerman. He evokes the contemporary Southwestern USA setting very well; you can see and feel the desert setting, with its rocky buttes jutting from dusty earth. A THIEF OF TIME reads a little bit more like an 'old-fashioned' mystery novel in terms of its pacing; it's not a page-whirring, action-packed tale like many contemporary crime novels. But it was absorbing, and intriguing, and had me wondering thr ...more
Jonelle Patrick
Sep 15, 2012 Jonelle Patrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tony Hillerman is the author who most influenced me as a mystery writer, because of his masterful use of culture in storytelling. All of the crimes in his books are rooted in Navajo society, and reveal truly interesting insights into a way of thinking that is quite different from mainstream America. His characters are imperfectly human and appealing, while also being fine examples of the way the Navajo have adapted to exist within a political system they didn't choose. I love the way he explores ...more
Oct 08, 2009 Les rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ahhhhhh a nice relaxing Joe Leaphorn, Jim Chee and Janet Pete. I found the book at the local Christian schoolbooks store in a 'used' bin. This is a first in Lucea and I was delighted to see it. I also wonder who put it there. Possibly a new friend??
I'm finished now and I really enjoyed the book. I rated it a 4 cause in my case it "did the trick". It took me away from my own problems with a fast paced story with chacters I love. Sorta like being propped up on the couch and watching your favorit
Jun 13, 2014 Catherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stayed up late to finish it.
Sep 03, 2014 Liz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've heard of Hillerman's books, ever since I fell in love with New Mexico and its landscape and skies, but never once picked up a book to read. Then I found "Thief of Time" at a block sale a few weeks ago and read it. I'm hooked. Joe Leaphorn just lost his wife, Emma, and it's said he had a nervous breakdown. He's on terminal leave from the Navajo Tribal police, and has given his letter of resignation. But before his time is up, a case catches his attention.

Anthropologist Eleonor Friedman-Bern
Lillian Carl
Another of Hillerman's Chee and Leaphorn books, this one takes place right after Leaphorn's wife dies. He's handed in his resignation to the Navajo Police, but then is drawn into a case involving a missing archaeologist. Meanwhile, Chee is called to investigate a case of illegal pot-hunting. As they always do in Hillerman's books, the two cases end up being different aspects of the same one.

I'm reading Hillerman's Navajo books out of order, which means I already know the ending of one of the sit
Jun 05, 2014 astaliegurec rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm relieved that Tony Hillerman's "A Thief of Time" (8th in his "Leaphorn & Chee series) is far more satisfying for me than the previous two books. He's got both Leaphorn and Chee working in the field and solving a mystery in a very satisfying way. If you've not read the previous seven books in the series, go back and do so before reading this one: you won't understand the personalities and pacing otherwise. If you're up-to-date on the books, this book is done in the best of Hillerman's sty ...more
Mar 13, 2014 Louis rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A Thief of Time is a fictional mystery novel. Ellie Friedman-Bernal, an Anasazi pottery archaeologist is suspected of illegally selling pots, but vanishes in the desert during an expedition. Two Navajo officers, Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee must investigate, dealing with suspicious pottery collectors and even murders to try to piece together the case. To be frank, this book was bad. I'm not sure why it won any awards at all or became a New York Times Bestseller. The mystery's premise is ...more
Stephanie Pieck
Aug 14, 2016 Stephanie Pieck rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
Some readers want to be dropped unceremoniously into a frenzy of action at the start of a book, with background and understanding coming like bits of driftwood amid the whitewater. My husband is one of these readers. He wants dialogue, momentum, and no superfluous descriptions.
Others take a slower approach, seeing the opening of a book as a time to set the scene and get the framework in place. It’s our first chance to hear the voice of the storyteller. It doesn’t answer all the questions or make
Apr 30, 2013 Shannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As this series progresses, the stories become tighter and even better. This time, Leaphorn and Chee are working separate incidents that diverge to bring the two together. This one involves scientists working on different projects (bones, pots, digging, etc.) and thankfully, as the story winds down, it becomes more obvious how all the pieces fit and sadly, the force that drives the murderer to do what they did...
Charles Gates
Aug 10, 2014 Charles Gates rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book some time ago and remembered it as one of my favorite Hillermans. This June, my wife (who has read all his books several times each) and I were traveling to New Mexico, with a day in Chaco Canyon. Since "Thief of Time" centers around an archaeological conflict with researchers from Chaco Canyon, the time was perfect to read it again. I'm an archaeologist myself, so the plot was tailor-made for me. I teach cultural anthropology, too, and one of the great joys of Hillerman's books ...more
Wynne Benti
Jan 08, 2013 Wynne Benti rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have read every book written by Tony Hillerman. Great fictional mystery tale about a real problem in the land of the Ancestral Puebloan with the heisting of illegal artifacts. Always love the characters of Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, the stories and the descriptions of the Navajo Reservation and Colorado Plateau, two of my favorite places to be on earth.
Natalie Williams
I love all Hillerman's books and the landscapes, characters, and moods contained within . . . don't know how I missed this one, but glad I found it. Reading one of his novels is like sitting around the camp fire listening to a first-rate storyteller weave a tale. I will admit, I love Leaphorn more than Chee . . . and mourned a bit when Jim began to feature more than Joe, but no matter; they are both most excellent and humane in the discharge of their duties to their employers and the people whom ...more
Bobby Underwood
Nov 18, 2014 Bobby Underwood rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tony Hillerman created an entire genre with these novels, and though they've been copied, no one has ever quite found the blend of Native American beliefs and traditions and modern-day mystery Hillerman perfected. Visiting Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee in the pages of a Hillerman mystery is the next best thing to sleeping under the stars in Navajo country, wondering if there is magic in the sky above.

Thief of Time has atmosphere to spare and Leaphorn and Chee are fleshed out more than usual in this
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The Mystery, Crim...: April/May 2012: A Thief of Time by Tony Hillerman 69 135 Oct 22, 2012 04:57PM  
  • The Spirit Woman (Wind River Reservation, #6)
  • The Shaman's Bones (Charlie Moon, #3)
  • Dance of the Thunder Dogs
  • Coyote's Wife (Ella Clah, #13)
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)
  • People of Darkness (Leaphorn & Chee, #4)
  • The Dark Wind (Leaphorn & Chee, #5)
  • The Ghostway (Leaphorn & Chee, #6)
  • Skinwalkers (Leaphorn & Chee, #7)
  • Talking God (Leaphorn & Chee, #9)
  • Coyote Waits (Leaphorn & Chee, #10)
  • Sacred Clowns (Leaphorn & Chee, #11)

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“Leaphorn didn't comment. It was the decision he would have made. Handle it on Navajo time. No reason to rush in there.” 0 likes
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