The Sinister Pig
A Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee Mystery by Tony Hillerman
Review: The Sinister Pig is the 17th mystery to feature Sergeant Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police and his retired former supervisor Joe Leaphorn.
As a generic mystery, The Sinister Pig is quite good. As a Hillerman mystery, it is rather mediocre. The problem with The Sinister Pig as a Hillerman mystery is that the story could take place anywhere. Substitute Canada for Mexico, Montana for New Mexico, and replace the names of principal characters, and The Sinister Pig remains a believable and fine mystery. But there is nothing of the rich Navajo culture embedded in the story, and that is what makes it an undistinguished Hillerman mystery.
The inefficiency, redundancy, and general level of incompetency of the US Federal Government, especially post-9/11 with the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, and conspicuously with respect to native American tribes, is front and center in this mystery. And Hillerman does an exceptional job incorporating this bureaucracy into his story. The plot he weaves is interesting and absorbing. But the characters, even the familiar Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, lack the depth and complexity typically associated with the books in this mystery series.
First-time readers of this series will no doubt find The Sinister Pig to be excellent. Long-time fans of Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn are likely to be disappointed.
Review Copyright © 2003 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Sinister Pig: New Mexico
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The Sinister Pig by Tony Hillerman — A Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee Mystery
Publication Date: May 2003
List Price: $25.95