Mystery Writer Tony Hillerman Dead at 83

Penned police novels infused with Navajo culture
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Oct 27, 2008 6:39 AM CDT
In an Oct. 31, 1995 file photo author Tony Hillerman talks about his latest book, "Finding Moon," in his Albuquerque, NM, home.    (AP Photo/Natasha Lane/file)
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(Newser) – Bestselling author Tony Hillerman died yesterday at 83 of pulmonary failure, the AP reports. He was known for his mystery novels, which featured two Navajo policemen with distinct views on their people, constantly balancing the Navajo world with the Anglo one. A onetime journalist, he found success with Skinwalkers in 1987 and made bestseller lists with A Thief of Time.

Born in 1925 in a tiny Oklahoma town, Hillerman was educated at a school for Indian girls, which inspired his respect for Indian society. Injured in World War II, he married and raised six children. He taught journalism at the University of New Mexico. “He had such a wonderful, wonderful curiosity about the world," said his daughter. "He could take little details and bring them to life."