cover image The Tale Teller: A Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito Novel

The Tale Teller: A Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito Novel

Anne Hillerman. Harper, $26.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-239195-7

At the start of bestseller Hillerman’s laconic fifth Leaphorn, Chee, and Manuelito novel (after 2018’s Cave of Bones), PI Joe Leaphorn, a former Navajo police lieutenant, and Daisy Pinto of the Navajo Nation meet at the tribal library to discuss some recent museum donations, in which the most valuable item listed on the paperwork was either not included or has gone missing. They’re interrupted by the news that a young woman is lying unconscious on the ground outside the library. When the woman later dies, Leaphorn investigates, despite anonymous warnings of witchcraft. He also agrees to help Daisy with the museum case. Meanwhile, Officer Bernie Manuelito and Sgt. Jim Chee look into a series of unsolved burglaries, further complicated by a body Bernie finds while running on a popular trail. The FBI and tribal cops butt heads as the various cases intertwine. Series fans not looking for dramatic momentum or a gripping plot will enjoy catching up with familiar characters, but predictability and lackluster prose mar this installment. Agent: Elizabeth Trupin-Pulli, JET Literary Assoc. (Apr.)