cover image The Way of the Bear: A Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito Mystery

The Way of the Bear: A Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito Mystery

Anne Hillerman. Harper, $30 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-290839-1

Bestseller Hillerman’s pleasing eighth Leaphorn, Chee, and Manuelito mystery (after 2022’s The Sacred Bridge) takes Navaho police officer Bernadette “Bernie” Manuelito and her policeman husband, Lt. Jim Chee, to Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. Chee is there to meet with Chapman Dulles, a scientist who has decided to donate to the Navajo Nation’s Fallen Officers Memorial Fund. Bernie has taken time off from work and joined Chee to contemplate her future after being passed over for a promotion to detective. While hiking on a cold winter’s day, she comes across what looks at first glance to be an archaeological dig. Bernie begins to suspect that the excavation may really be connected with the robbing of grave sites or the illegal collection of fossils. Her suspicions seem to be confirmed when she’s chased and shot at. Meanwhile, Chee shows up at Dulles’s home to find an unidentified dead man sprawled on the driveway. Dulles is nowhere to be found. An intriguing plot matches the well-developed, reflective leads. As always, the real strength of this series lies in its authentic atmosphere, evocative descriptions of the landscape, and fascinating details of Navajo life. Hillerman consistently satisfies. (Apr.)