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A Thief Of Time [Mass Market Paperback]

Tomy Hillerman
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 1 1990 Joe Leaphorn/Jim Chee Novels

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.


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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Here, kicking off a new mass market paperback line, tribal police officers Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee head a big and skillfully realized cast involved in the disappearance of an anthropologist. "Hillerman's new novel seamlessly unites drama, pathos and naturally humorous incidents in the continuing story of Navajo life set in the American Southwest," lauded PW. $250,000 ad/promo.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA-- Hillerman's fans have another hit to celebrate, another surprising mysterious adventure. It may be a toss-up as to what draws them most strongly: varied, detailed, and fascinating revelations of contemporary culture; or compelling, complex, and original murder mysteries. Against the backdrop of the puzzle of the long-ago vanished Anasazi people, a complex mystery emerges in which Anglo culture and values pull against those of the Navajo, resulting in a bizarre series of murders solved by the Navajo Tribal Police. Fast, literate, absorbing reading with unique settings and characters, this title is for lovers of adventure as well as mystery.
- Annette Demeritt, Houston Public Library
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A best selling Navajo detective story Jan. 8 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"A Thief of Time" is the eighth book in Tony Hillerman's Navajo detective series, but the first one to make national best seller lists and propel him into bigtime literary stardom.
"Thief" is one of Hillerman's least mysterious mysteries, but one of his most interesting books. He tells of the Anasazi, the ancient ones, an amazing proto-civilization of a thousand years ago that left ruins and potsherds scattered all over the austere, forbidding desert country of the Four Corners area. The mystery deals with ancient pots, the "thieves of time" who dig up graves and sell the pots they find, and of ambitious archaelogists who strive to make their reputations by discovering the secrets of the Anasazi.
Navajo detectives Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee confront several mysteries: a missing archaeologist, a stolen backhoe, and the bodies of two pot thieves. For Leaphorn, the solution to the mystery goes back twenty years into his past to a canyon along the San Juan River in Utah.
Atmosphere is what Hillerman sells in his books and this one has it in abundance. Navajo culture and ceremonies, modern police work, and the treasures of the Anasazi are woven together into a landscape of pure, clean-aired natural beauty. The weather -- thunderstorms, droughts, sudden blizzards, the thunderheads of approaching doom -- is also prominent in Hillerman's novels. His books combine elements of mysteries, westerns, and exotic culture -- and they are really, really worth reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tony Hillerman Magic Nov. 15 2002
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Tony Hillerman once again takes us into the world of the Navajo with Chee and the legendary Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal Police. Having just read "Skinwalkers" for the first time recently this one had big moccasins to fill. Not only did it fill them, but this exciting mystery may just be better. There is atmosphere to spare and Leaphorn and Chee are fleshed out more than usual in this terrific read.
Both Chee and Leaphorn are dealing with personal issues as this one begins. Chee hasn't quite figured out how he feels about Mary leaving him because he could not leave his Navajo way of life behind and move to the city with her. He is smitten with a pretty Navajo attorney named Janet but she's with someone else. Leaphorn meanwhile is on terminal leave and retiring after the unexpected death of his beloved wife Emma. Niether he or Chee can explain his obsession with finding a missing pot hunter named Eleanor Friedman-Bernal. No Navajo would be involved, as stealing pots like this would make one a "Thief of Time" according to Navajo tradition.
Chee's letting a rather large backhoe get stolen right under his nose will have ties to Leaphorn's investigation, and once more Chee will be helping Leaphorn all across the Navajo territory. This one will stretch all the way into Utah and down the San Juan River. Leaphorn will be reminded of young boy's death by drowning before this one wraps up and it will have unexpected ties to his search for Eleanor.
It seems Eleanor was into pots made by the Anasazi, a tribe that simply vanished from the face of the earth. Pictographs and petroglyphs of Kokopelli, the "Watersprinkler", play a part in this mystery. But her interest is also anthropological, and someone thinks what she's discovered is worth killing for.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not Hillerman's Best (spoilers) July 27 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Blarg. I wrote my "Thief of Time" review under "Sacred Clowns" forgetting which book I was reviewing. So I'll keep this short. Thief of Time is often considered Hillerman's finest work in his Southwestern Mysteries, but I found it less satisfying than "Blessing Way" and "Sacred Clowns." In brief, Hillerman seemed to lose control of the book about halfway through and fell victim to the lazy writer's prop of killing a character to inject drama into the story. There were just too many deaths in this one and it contributed to a general lack of focus in the later chapters. And, as usual, I cared a great deal less about the Crime and the Criminals than Leaphorn and Chee. Hillerman's crooks and murderers just aren't fleshed out very well. The motivation in this case was an excellent one--but far too psychologically deep to hang on such a paper-thin character.
So there. I love reading Hillerman as much as the next man, but I'm not blind to his faults, the most prominent of which is on glaring display here--he has trouble with the resolutions to his stories, creating a deep, layered mystery, and then wrapping it up in an action movie style that just doesn't fit the earlier parts of his book.
RstJ
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4.0 out of 5 stars A fine introduction to Native American culture July 18 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Hmmmmmmm . . . . . no reviews by anyone who claims to be one of the Dine, and therefore wants to analyze Hillerman on that basis.
Hillerman is a masterful story teller, and in this book brings a heavy load of social correctness into a typical mystery story. The central theme is the systematic looting of Native American sites on behalf of Anglos who are driven by greed for ancient artifacts. In this story, the greed has two faces; one is the monetary reward of finding and selling ancient artifacts for often vast sums of money, and the other is the greed for scholarly fame that is the reward for discovering new and sometimes shocking facts about Native Americans.
Would scholars be so crude ? Well, think of Regents Professor Christie G. Turner of Arizona State University who "proved" the ancestors of the Hopis and Zunis and other pueblo tribes were cannibals. It sure got him a lot of fame and attention.
Would pot hunters be so violent ? Having been trained as a site steward, a volunteer who checks known sites to deter looting, we were warned never to directly challenge anyone engaged in looting a site.
Put the two elements together, and you have the basis of the very plausible plot in this story. Then add the detective work of two Navajo Nation police officers, whose work often seems to be protecting the Navajos from the crimes of non-Navajos, and the result is a good story. Hillerman writes well, with a genuine affection for The People, but even at his best he's still an outsider looking at the intricacies of Navajo culture.
Who am I to judge Hillerman's portrayal of the Navajos ?
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A thief of time is a pot pilferer
The story was kept intact and in iconological order. However is suggest you read the book first or at the least are familiar with the characters first. Read more
Published 10 months ago by bernie
5.0 out of 5 stars A thief of time is a pot pilferer
As with most Hillerman formulas, we have separate mysteries that overlap in time and place. Almost retired with just a few days to go Lt. Read more
Published on July 23 2010 by bernie
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this Hillerman guy
Did you know you can take a topographical map of the Four Corners area and track every arroyo, every butte, every mesa and canyon and rio seco mentioned in Hillerman's books? Read more
Published on Nov. 10 2003 by Peggy Vincent
2.0 out of 5 stars A so-so read
This was the first Hillerman novel I ever read.How it ever became a best seller amazes me! Fortunately it was the only book I had with me on vacation, or I would never have gotten... Read more
Published on July 25 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars As good as usual
Lives up to all hillerman's books
Published on June 14 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars criminal cases
Book Review
Have you ever watched Cops or America's Most Wanted? Well, Tony Hillerman calls the book that I am about to tell you about A Thief Of Time. Read more
Published on April 17 2003 by brandon
5.0 out of 5 stars criminal cases
Book Review
Have you ever watched Cops or America's Most Wanted? Well, Tony Hillerman calls the book that I am about to tell you about A Thief Of Time. Read more
Published on April 17 2003 by brandon
5.0 out of 5 stars criminal cases
Book Review
Have you ever watched Cops or America's Most Wanted? Well, Tony Hillerman calls the book that I am about to tell you about A Thief Of Time. Read more
Published on April 17 2003 by brandon
5.0 out of 5 stars criminal cases
Book Review
Have you ever watched Cops or America's Most Wanted? Well, Tony Hillerman calls the book that I am about to tell you about A Thief Of Time. Read more
Published on April 17 2003 by brandon
5.0 out of 5 stars A new kind of detective story
I must admit I'd never read any of Tony Hillerman's novels. Someone said if I liked James Patterson then I would like Tony Hillerman. Read more
Published on March 22 2003 by Jimi Dracutt
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