Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

How effective is Tony Hillerman at making an unfamiliar world accessible to the reader? What techniques does he use?

Which detective do you identify or empathize with more, Joe Leaphorn or Jim Chee?

How do you think Hillerman’s having been trained as a journalist affects his approach to writing these mysteries?

Reviewers usually focus on how different Hillerman’s mysteries are, because of their ethnic detectives. What, however, do you think is traditional about his way of writing mysteries?

What solutions, if any, does Hillerman propose through his novels that might improve the tensions caused by cultural differences?