The Sinister Pig
The newest Reservation mystery by Tony Hillerman is once again ahead of the headlines. The day The Sinister Pig was released in bookstores, the Albuquerque Journal ran a large article about an elite border patrol group called the Shadow Wolves. The Wolves are a cadre of trackers recruited from various Native American tribes who patrol the border with Mexico in an effort to cut down the traffic in drugs and illegal aliens. Always one jump ahead of the public, Hillerman's latest has officer Bernie Manuelito, frustrated by her on and off relationship with her boss Sergeant Jim Chee, joining the Border Patrol and the newly formed Native trackers, putting her miles away from the Navajo Reservation.
Back at home Sergeant Chee has gotten involved with an odd murder of an investigator found dead in a tribal oil field where the Navajo land and Jicarilla Apache Reservation are adjacent. The Feds, often at odds with the Navajo police, are doing a bumbling coverup. "Legendary" Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, retired, gets involved by looking into billions of dollars of Indian oil lease money that has "gone missing." In fact, the missing fortune has been under investigation for years without doing the Indians much good.
Manuelito pokes her nose into a private game preserve on the Mexican border and almost gets it shot off. Something is hinky and her boss doesn.t want her to investigate it. A Coyote--smuggler of illegal aliens--gives her another piece of the puzzle, but she's pretty much on her own.
What ties the two investigations together is an abandoned gas pipe that runs from Northern New Mexico across the border into Old Mexico. Since the copper smelter on the Mexican side shut down, the pipe has lain idle. It is a literal conduit for illegal border crossing. When the pipe was actively used, a cleanout device called a "pig" was periodically sent through the pipe, like the pneumatic tubes at a drive-up bank.
Manuelito solves her mystery, but Tony Hillerman can't do much about the billions stolen from Indian tribes, except illustrate, once again, that the Native world of the Southwest is a long way from the every day lives of most Americans. An exciting, exotic world that Hillerman has made his own over the years.
The Ernest Franklin drawings shown on the website are only samples and we will try to change them from time to time. Franklin never does exactly the same illustration twice, but he tries to satisfy specific requests. The illustrated, signed, slipcased, first printings are $150 each plus $7 shipping.