Author: Tony Hillerman
The Blessing Way was Tony Hillerman's first novel, published in 1970. I first read this book when I was in high school. I became an immediate fan of Hillerman's novels. The Blessing Way is the first book in the Joe Leaphorn Mysteries series, although in this first book Bergen McKee is more the main character than Leaphorn. I love the way the story is a blend of Navajo culture and murder mystery.
I decided this year to re-visit Hillerman's novels. I'm glad I did. His portrayal of the Navajo way of life was just as vivid for me now as it was for me in the 80's when I read this book for the first time. Hillerman wrote 22 books. 18 of them are Joe Leaphorn/Jim Chee Navajo police mystery novels.
Hillerman died in 2008, but his daughter Anne continues the series. Anne Hillerman has written two novels in the series so far, Spider Woman's Daughter and Rock With Wings.
The Blessing Way starts out a little slow, but by mid-book the action picks up speed and heads towards a thrilling end. The book includes a lot of details about Navajo culture, beliefs and ceremonies. It's easy to tell that Hillerman loved New Mexico! Here's a short video of Hillerman talking about New Mexico, the Navajo and his writing:
I'm going to re-read the entire series.