As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Published by Harpercollins, 10 October
2014. ISBN: 9787-0-06-227048-1
When Tony Hillerman died in 2008, at the grand old age of 83, he left
big shoes to fill. His books set in America’s magical South-West, featuring
Navajo cops Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn and Officer Jim Chee, were classics;
without a drop of Navajo blood in his own veins, he succeeded in capturing the
spirit and ambience of a race and a way of life which holds mystery enough to
most people even without crimes to solve, in a manner which gained the respect
and affection of Navajo people and the rest of the world.
his daughter Anne, herself a noted journalist and non-fiction writer, has
picked up the story where he left off. Spider Woman’s Daughter is
Officer Bernadette Manuelito, wife of Jim Chee and an adept police officer in
her own right.
played a supporting role in several of Tony Hillerman’s novels; here she takes
centre stage. Officially on leave after witnessing a near-fatal shooting, she
can’t bear to be sidelined while her colleagues investigate, and follows an
intriguing trail of clues they have chosen to ignore.
her fellow officers chase up some more obvious suspects (and crime fiction
devotees know the obvious suspect is never the right one!) Bernie’s trail takes
her around a large part of new Mexico,
including a Santa Fe
museum and a fascinating archaeological site.
plot is relatively simple; I confess I had sussed whodunit some time before
Bernie did. But that detracts not at all from the book’s qualities. There is
much else to enjoy, including quirky characters galore, including plenty of
strong women. Bernie herself is more rounded and complete than in her earlier
appearances; then there’s Mrs Benally, a voluble, determined Navajo matron;
Darleen, Bernie’s talented but wilful teenage sister; Maxie the museum curator;
Ellie the maverick archaeologist; and plenty more. Like her father, Anne
Hillerman has the knack of getting under her characters’ skins, of walking in
their shoes and speaking their language – sometimes literally.
book’s main strength, though, is the powerful portrayal of New Mexico’s stark, beautiful landscape, and
the Navajo attitudes and way of life. Also like her father, the author makes
the reader feel this is how it really is in this remote, somewhat alien part of
Tony Hillerman left big shoes indeed. But his daughter has proved herself more
than able to fill them.
Reviewer Lynne Patrick
Anne Hillerman’s debut novel, Spider Woman's Daughter, is a
mystery set in the Southwest, including the Navajo Nation and Santa Fe. The
book follows the further adventures of the characters Tony Hillerman made
famous: Jim Chee, Joe Leaphorn and Bernadette Manuelito. The novel, released by
HarperCollins, received the Spur Award from Western Writers of America for the
Best First Novel of 2013. Anne also is the author of the award-winning Tony
Hillerman's Landscape: On the Road with Chee and Leaphorn and eight other
books.Together with husband/photographer Don Strel, she worked on a
project with the University of New Mexico Press---an introduction and new
photographs for a re-issue of mystery giant Tony Hillerman's book of
non-fiction essays, The Great Taos Bank Robbery. In her introduction,
Anne talks about growing up as one of Hillerman's six children. She and Don
also collaborated on Gardens of Santa Fe, which was a finalist for the
prestigious Eric Hoffer Award, as well as earning a New Mexico Book Award and
first place honors from the National Federation of Press Women and New Mexico
Press Women. The duo presents on their books frequently. Tony
Hillerman's Landscape had received many awards and was honored as the best
photo book of 2010 by the Mountains and Plains Booksellers.
Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen,
and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but
never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher
for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now
burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with
books, about half of them crime fiction.