Monday, October 27, 2008

Tony Hillerman, R. I. P.

Sad news to begin the week. I read Hillerman's first book when it came out in paperback in 1970 or so, and I've been reading him ever since. One of my favorites was a nonseries book, The Fly on the Wall.

The Associated Press: Acclaimed author Tony Hillerman dies at 83: "PHOENIX (AP) — Tony Hillerman, author of the acclaimed Navajo Tribal Police mystery novels and creator of two of the unlikeliest of literary heroes — Navajo police officers Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee — died Sunday of pulmonary failure. He was 83.

Hillerman's daughter, Anne Hillerman, said her father's health had been declining in the last couple years and that he was at Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque when he died at about 3 p.m.

Hillerman lived through two heart attacks and surgeries for prostate and bladder cancer. He kept tapping at his keyboard even as his eyes began to dim, as his hearing faded, as rheumatoid arthritis turned his hands into claws.

'I'm getting old,' he declared in 2002, 'but I still like to write.'"


pattinase (abbott) said...

His books inspired me to minor in Anthropology. Sad news.

Elizabeth Foxwell said...

I met him a few times. A class act through and through. His memoir _Seldom Disappointed_ is fascinating reading, particularly about his World War II service.

Bill Peschel said...

I picked up Fly years ago in paperback and still remember it. That's the mark of a good writer.

He was one of those who showed the possibilities in the genre of getting inside another culture without glorifying or sanctifying the people, but showing them as they are.

Anonymous said...

I got to see Tony Hillerman in Albuquerque in 1999 at the Left Coast Crime con. I've been a fan of his since I encountered "A Thief of Time", which to me was a perfect mystery/detective novel - excellent from beginning to end. He was a fine fellow and a consistently great writer.
--Thomas Miller