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The First Eagle (Leaphorn & Chee #13)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  5,061 Ratings  ·  215 Reviews
When Acting Lt. Jim Chee catches a Hopi poacher huddled over a butchered Navajo Tribal police officer, he has an open-and-shut case--until his former boss, Joe Leaphorn, blows it wide open. Now retired from the Navajo Tribal Police, Leaphorn has been hired to find a hot-headed female biologist hunting for the key to a virulent plague lurking in the Southwest. The scientist ...more
Paperback, 319 pages
Published June 3rd 1999 by HarperTorch (first published January 1st 1998)
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Bobby Underwood
Oct 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In The First Eagle, Tony Hillerman once again crafted a fresh and involving entry in his fine series about the Navajo Tribal Police. In this one, the retired Leaphorn is still at loose ends after a tragic death close to home. Chee, meanwhile, has become acting Lieutenant, but is having misgivings over the possibility that it will become permanent. There is a tad less of the Navajo mysticism in this entry, but the vast territory covered by the Navajo Tribal Police is given its due as always.

Hille
...more
Carmen
Mar 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Mystery Fans
"Always liked that about you guys," he said. "Four days of grief and mourning for the spirit, and then get on with life. How did we white folks get into this corpse worship business? It's just dead meat, and dangerous to boot."

Surprisingly, this book is about The Plague. Some scientists on on the Rez testing prairie dog fleas for strains of The Plague.

One of the researchers, a 30-year-old woman, goes missing. Leaphorn is hired as a private detective by the woman's elderly relative to find her. S
...more
Michael Fox
Sep 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
There are many things to like about Tony Hillerman's Navajo Tribal Police mysteries, yet foremost (in my mind at least) is how he builds them on relationships. In this story, the relationship between Joe Leaphorn and Louisa Bourbonette continues to evolve. It finds a comfortable place in friendship. Also, the Jim Chee and Janet Pete relationship continues its brittle slide as Chee follows his concise to help a wrongly arrested man gain freedom. Then, there is the budding of a relationship with O ...more
Whitney White
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Hillerman writes such good mysteries, and this is no exception. Even though they all have the same basic storyline when you boil it down, he never fails to surprise with a plot twist at the end that both catches you off-guard and explains everything (or almost everything). I also enjoy the bits of Navajo culture that he throws in each book.
Silvio111
Feb 28, 2015 rated it really liked it

Note: I just read this book for the 2nd time - I still do not think Louisa is necessary and she is still really irritating.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Pretty good, except for the totally annoying presence of Louisa Bourbonette, whose "collaboration" Joe Leaphorn is completely improbable. I readily acknowledge that she pisses me off because I am loyal to Leaphorn's late wife, Emma, who was a solid, loveable, intelligent, and dignified woman who occupi
...more
Mary Helene
Dec 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
This really had everything I want in a mystery: decent writing, evocative setting, and reflections on relationships: ethical, romantic and fraternal. Joe Leaphorn, Jim Chee and "Cowboy" all love each other; other characters support that love. It's worth taking to heart. The plot: a bit clunky, but only because it wasn't the point. The plot was adequate to carry the rest, and even clever. I've been thinking about the ending and it's satisfying.
The author mentions two other books in passing, which
...more
Ed Mestre
Sep 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Tony Hillerman can always be counted on for a quick, enjoyable read. Unlike Patricia Cornwell's "Body Farm" I recently reviewed it doesn't have the handicap of sounding a bit dated no matter when it was published. That's because these mystery solvers don't rely on the latest forensics & computers to come up with the solution. It has to do with relationships. Relationships to their culture, community, & most of all the land of the four corners area of the American Southwest. The space &am ...more
Jo
Oct 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everone
Shelves: mystery, arizonia
Lots of intresting details, good research, but I was not really in suspence. Really wonderfull charecters too.
Later-I discussed this with a goodreads friend and 2 others and came to relize this was #14 in a series. I may go back and read #1 down the road. The anthropology was a blast.
Scott Whitney
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I needed something to take my mind off of work for a while. This book helped. The mystery kept me going for quite a while. I was able to forecast some of the ending, but not all. I did stay up late one night to get to the end since the action was coming to a head and I could not get the mystery out of my mind anyway.
Kathleen
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another great Chee and Leaphorn mystery. These age very well and I learn something about being human from each and every one.
Mark Robertson
Nov 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The legendary Lieutenant Leaphorn is retired but still investigating mysteries on the reservation, and it's a good thing, as his insights are invaluable to his longtime subordinate Jim Chee. In this mystery Chee's focused on the murder of a Navajo police officer under his command while Leaphorn is investigating the disappearance of a field scientist looking for the source of bubonic plague that's killed a couple of Indians. The researcher disappeared on the same day that the officer was murdered ...more
James Korsmo
Aug 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
I have long been a lover of Tony Hillerman stories. I enjoy the cultural landscape that surrounds his mysteries, and appreciate the cultural tensions in which his characters struggle and flourish. This book displays that same depth with the same quality mystery that typifies Hillerman's work. Now, his writing isn't as deep as P. D. James, but that's okay. Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn are two good main characters, and they again put their detecting skills to work to solve a murder and a disappearanc ...more
astaliegurec
Jun 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
OK. Yet another 3-1/2 stars instead of the official Very Good 4 stars out of 5 showing here. I'm going to assume that since "The First Eagle" is the 13th book in Tony Hillerman's "Leaphorn & Chee" series, the people reading this by now know how Hillerman writes. This is mostly that. However, there are problems. The most trivial is that the Kindle version has a lot of OCR/editing issues. Next, the little inconsistencies in technical writing that I noticed in the last book ("The Fallen Man") a ...more
Diana
Aug 26, 2011 rated it liked it
I really like Tony Hillerman's book. One of the things I like is that they are set in the 4 corners area and I have spent a little time there. Hillerman is good at explaining some things about Indian culture (several different tribes) This book is about a group of people, from several agencies, studying plague and other diseases that have become more virulent due to the overuse of antibiotics. At the beginning to the story a man has just died of plague contracted from fleas on prairie dogs. I ha ...more
Kristen
Jan 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I've read and enjoyed many of Hillerman's Navajo Tribal Police novels, though apparently not during this past year, and not this one before. These are low-key mysteries, in which the police characters - Jim Chee and the (now-retired) Lt. Joe Leaphorn - work methodically toward solving their problems. Leaphorn is a traditional thinking detective in many ways - I might compare him to Simenon's Maigret, except the two writers' narrative styles are so different. In this particular novel, there are t ...more
Sull
Mar 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to Sull by: Library find
Missed this one, a good one, somehow when I was reading these years (decades) ago. I'm finding these Hillerman Navaho mysteries so full of meaning now, especially the ones dealing with retired policeman Leaphorn. I think I was bored with these slower (sadder) stories when I read this series in my 20s, but now that I'm inching trepidaciously into my 60s, I'm consuming these tales of elderly retirees & wily shamans working together with more interest, more need. Back then I guess I liked the m ...more
David Bryant
Aug 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recently re-read this as well as another one from the series, probably 10 years or more since I first read either one, and it was still extremely enjoyable. I love the way Hillerman explains and respects the Navajos and other Native American groups, but is also able to portray their differences and conflicts. His love of the southwest is always present as well.
The book has the usual lead characters, Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee, and several others are familiar as well -- Janet Peet in particular. J
...more
Erica
Jul 02, 2010 rated it liked it
I'm not normally a great lover of mysteries, but since my work for the Park Service has me researching the Navajo, I thought I'd better listen to one of Hillerman's books on my drive home last month. As far as mysteries go, I did not find the First Eagle terribly suspenseful. It was quite obvious that the accused murderer was not the murderer, and no one seemed to be in any danger of anything while the real murderer was ever so slowly tracked down. I also found the book tediously full of details ...more
Orville Jenkins
Dec 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A murder mystery and a medical mystery coincide with the appearance of bubonic plague on the reservation. The usual FBI swaggers appear as comic relief in the Hillerman style, referred to by Navajo Police Detective Jim Chee as the Federal Bureau of Incompetence.

With the rich cultural backdrops, the brusque Feds always manage to overlook the sensitive worldview issues. They come off looking stupid due to their arrogance and ignorance of the local factors in a case. George Guidall's clear vocal ac
...more
Susan
Mar 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rated-five-stars
I thought I had read every single book Tony Hillerman ever wrote, but I'm not sure about this one. Either I have read it and lost it in the recesses of my aging brain, or I missed it. Either way I'm enjoying reading it (again?).

OK....I never read this on before and it is as wonderful as all of Hillerman's Jim Chee/Joe Leaphorn stories. Hillerman is one of those rare writers who, like Alexander McCall Smith, takes you to a location in such a way that you can feel and know the place as if you are
...more
Morris Graham
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A Hopi eagle poacher, the murder of a Navajo Tribal Policeman, a missing vector control agent sudying bubonic plague cases among the prairie dog burrows... Follow retired NTP Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn and acting Lieutenant Jim Chee on their search for the truth. This story is full of angles, troubles between local law enforcement on the reservation and the FBI, along with the return back to the reservation of Chee's half Navajo ex-fiance turned public defender that makes this novel a spellbinding ...more
Elvira
Oct 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
As a retired academic biologist, I found the book interesting because it depicts, albeit exaggerated, competition between scientists. The plot reminded me of one of Hillerman's earlier books in which competition between several archeologists resulted in murder for the sake of claim and fame over theories and artifacts. Shades of this competition does exist in academia and research, but not to the point of murder, obviously. Regardless, Hillerman's novels use murder/crime as a trope for plot deve ...more
Patrick Gibson
From most authors, this would be an impressive book. From Hillerman, it is not. He was coasting with this one -- worth reading, but don't buy it unless, like me, you find it at the used bookstore.Yes, it has Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, and it's set on the reservation. But the precipitating conflict is between two non-Native American researchers on the reservation. Leaphorn gets hired by one of the researcher's parents to solve her disappearance. Glimpses of Navajo culture and thinking, and Hopi c ...more
Mary Ellen
Dec 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Both of Hillerman's detectives are in new positions that don't quite fit: Joe Leaphorn is spending his retirement acting like a cop and Jim Chee, Acting Lieutenant, avoids supervisory duties by plunging deep into the investigation of the murder of one of his officers. I love the contrast between "modern" Leaphorn and "traditional" Chee and the bits here and there about Navajo (and to a lesser extent, Hopi) belief and practice, which gradually add up to presentation of a whole world view.

My seco
...more
Robert Walton
Oct 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mysteries
This book is especially resonant in the age of Ebola. Tony Hillerman and Edward Abbey are the great champions of of the Southwest, though only Hillerman embraces the natural world as an active character in his novels. That world seizes primacy in First Eagle. Old friends Leaphorn, Chee and McGinnes have their thoughtful conversations, but they and the other characters float upon deadly, murderous currents. In trying to resolve the death of a murdered policeman and the fate of a missing woman, th ...more
Janel
Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
I think because I am reading this series in order, I love the stories even more than I did the first time. Characters that show up sporadically in the books are fresher in my mind and therefore I don't spend time trying to remember their back story.

This book is not as enjoyable if you have not read previous Leaphorn/Chee stories. I loved everything about this story.

I am sadly getting closer to the final Tony Hillerman story.
Stephen
Dec 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Two series of events come together: an eagle-poacher accused of murder and a virologist gone missing. I enjoyed Jim Chee's collaboration with an Indian cop not from the Navajo tribal police and Jim's helpful (but potentially self-destructive) tactics to help Janet find exculpatory evidence for her defense of the man Jim had himself arrested earlier, caught all bloodied at the scene of a fatal assault.
Elizabeth Mosley
Jul 31, 2014 rated it it was ok
I didn't really enjoy this Leaphorn/Chee mystery. The main plot hinges around the disappearance of a "vector specialist," a woman who works for the NIH studying diseases in rodents. I felt like much of the book was a rehashing of biology class. It was technical and boring, and there wasn't nearly enough character development for me to care about any of the main figures. Even Chee and Leaphorn's characters got short shrift in this book.
Sylvia McIvers
Nice show of Indian beliefs, a little about life on the reservation, and a missing woman who is (surprise!) actually dead. The first eagle was a witness to the murder... sort of.

Add a little plague, and you've got some urgency to solving the case. The plague-solver is a complete jackass, and isn't interested in solving the murder of a single person - its far more important to solve the mystery of the plague, which can kill millions.
Anne Dart
Sep 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this mystery set in the Southwest which involves the Hopi, the Navajo and the white man in a modern day setting. The resurgence of the bubonic plague and attempts to find a cure added a new wrinkle to this mystery as a young Hopi is accused of killing both an eagle and a law enforcement officer.
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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

Leaphorn & Chee (1 - 10 of 22 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)
  • A Thief of Time (Leaphorn & Chee, #8)
  • Talking God (Leaphorn & Chee, #9)
  • Coyote Waits (Navajo Mysteries, #10)

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