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A Thief of Time (Navajo Mysteries #8)

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  7,039 ratings  ·  233 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...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published October 6th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 1988)
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Aug 05, 2009 Maureen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Laura Cowan
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.
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...more
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....more
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
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
Mar 07, 2012 Brianna rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
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
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
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...more
Stayed up late to finish it.
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...more
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...more
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
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
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
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
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
Sharon Michael
A re-read and I'd forgotten just how much I enjoy the Hillerman books. I have not read them for a number of years and was very glad to revisit.
The native -american viewpoint kept up my interest in this book,which is actually part of a popular mystery series. I have read more mysteries in the last month than I had in my whole previous life, it seems. The verdict is, I really don't like the genre, and as I believe my recent flirtation with it is over, I am not going to make a new shelf for them.

I did enjoy learning more about the Anasazi,and Hillerman has a relaxed style that did counterbalance the violence somewhat, but I think I will d...more
Alan Wells
One of my favorite Hillerman novels because the story involves both Lt. Joe Leaphorn and Officer Jim Chee; the main characters in the Navaho Tribal Police series. This mystery not only refreshes acquaintance with Leaphorn and Chee, but also has back story that includes the cliff-dwelling Anasazi archaeological sites in the southwest U.S., ambitious graduate students and professors; and greed, destruction, and mayhem over the valuable artifacts and remains from a culture that existed in North Ame...more
Janine Holter
This is my first Tony Hillerman book. It was recommended to me by my aunt. I typically have not read many mysteries but this has opened my eyes to so many things I am missing. The book progresses each chapter from the two main character's point of view. Joe Leaphorn a tribal lawman considering retirement after the death of his wife and Jim Chee a tribal officer beginning his career as a medicine man. They work separately, share clues and info to break the case invloving three murders. I especial...more
Sarah Sammis
I've been reading Tony Hillerman's Navajo mysteries on and off since college — twenty years. I haven't them in order and while things do progress through the books, it doesn't really matter to the individual mysteries.

My most recent read, from my personal collection, was A Thief of Time. The title refers to grave robbery. It begins with an archeologist finding something remarkable on a site she might not have the permits for. She goes missing shortly after making her discovery.

Joe Leaphorn and J...more
I think I found myself a new author! Great writing and story. This one will definately leave you wanting more from Mr. Hillerman.

Tony Hillerman's Navajo mystery reminded me of J A Jance's Sheriff Joanna Brady series that takes place in Cochise county.

In the beginning of this fast-paced mystery, we find anthropologist Eleanor Friedman-Bernal going off by herself with only her backpack. She spots the pictograph of Kokopelli, the Navajo's god of fertility. She collects artifacts, Navajo pots, for h...more
I love Hillerman because his style reflects the Navajo people as a whole. Although the characters, outwardly, appear so laid back they experience strong emotions just like everyone else. It is calming to me just to read the thought processes of Joe and Chi. It helps that I have been through the region described in the book because it gives me a sense of the quiet and vastness of the area. When I was in the middle of "no-where", with acres and acres of sand and dirt and few people, I could experi...more
Entertaining. An easy quick read if looking for light diversion. I read many of his novels years (20+ I believe) ago. Having just read the new book in this series written by his daughter, which was a daily deal on Amazon, I wanted to compare it with one of his. Satisfying read.
Hillerman crafts a wonderful tale, as usual, and this one has BOTH Leaphorn and Chee in it. I like it when that happens.

From the Publisher

A noted anthropologist vanishes at a moonlit Indian ruin where "thieves of time" ravage sacred ground for profit. When two corpses appear amid stolen goods and bones at an ancient burial site, Navajo Tribal Policemen Lt. Joe Leaphorn and Officer Jim Chee must plunge into the past to unearth the astonishing truth behind a mystifying series of horrific murders....more
This was the first of the Hillerman Mystery novels I read. It was for an extra-credit assignment I had for and Anthropolgy class at Auburn. Why anthropology? Because it deals with pot hunters, or "Thiefs of Time." People who ransack archeological sites for profit. Kind of like tomb raiders. Probably not very interesting to most. It hooked me because of my interest in American Indians. All the Hillerman books in the series take place within The Navajo Tribal Police and deal with a lot south-weste...more
Joan Schrock
Tony Hillerman mixes Indian Folklore,beautiful descriptions of Arizona and Utah scenery all packed into a very good mystery where the main characters are the Indian Reservation Police- The Navajo and Hopi Indian Tribes are the basis for the folklore.
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The Mystery, Crim...: April/May 2012: A Thief of Time by Tony Hillerman 69 134 Oct 22, 2012 04:57PM  
  • The Thunder Keeper (Wind River Reservation, #7)
  • The Shaman's Bones (Charlie Moon, #3)
  • Blackening Song (Ella Clah, #1)
  • Spider Woman's Daughter (Navajo Mysteries, #19)
  • Spirit Sickness
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...
The Blessing Way (Navajo Mysteries, #1) Skinwalkers (Navajo Mysteries, #7) Listening Woman (Navajo Mysteries, #3) Dance Hall of the Dead (Navajo Mysteries, #2) The Ghostway (Navajo Mysteries, #6)

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