cover image Bad Medicine: An Ella Clah Novel

Bad Medicine: An Ella Clah Novel

Aimee Thurlo. Forge, $23.95 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-312-86328-9

A fatal traffic accident and the murder of a Navajo rights activist seem unrelated, but tribal investigator Ella Clah (introduced in Blackening Song and seen since in Death Walker, 1996) knows better. She connects the murder to racial troubles at the nearby mine where white militants and Navajo workers clash. The ""accident"" victim was Angelina Yellowhair, daughter of a powerful state senator. The senator blocks Ella's investigation, even disputing the results of the autopsy performed by her friend, Dr. Carolyn Roanhorse, who finds that Angelina was poisoned by jimsonweed disguised in the peyote buttons used by some Native Americans for religious purposes. When Dr. Roanhorse is poisoned (not fatally) in the hospital cafeteria, Ella faces a broad range of suspects who had access to the food, including the cafeteria workers and the medical examiner's young assistant, Howard Lee. Ella begins to receive threatening notes purporting to be from beyond the grave and signed with the name of her dead father-in-law. Getting little help from whites who consider her sympathies to be skewed toward Indians, Ella is also mistrusted by Navajos who are suspicious about her experiences with the FBI and about her work, with Carolyn, with dead bodies. Determined to use modern police methods, Ella also relies on old Indian ways. The crises keep coming--perhaps too many for one story--but Ella and Carolyn prove up to the challenges. (Nov.)