Spider Woman’s Daughter by Anne Hillerman — review

Until now, only Felix Francis has prominently authored novels in a series created by his father. Other series, like those of Robert B. Parker, have been authored by writers unrelated to the deceased creators. However, Anne Hillerman now joins Felix in the distinguished company of an offspring continuing a popular series, undertaking to continue the Joe Leaphorn/Jim Cree Navajo mysteries, placing her own stamp on it by fully developing Bernie Manuelito, Jim’s wife, as well as a cop.

It is rather strange that the author chooses to begin the story by having Leaphorn, a main character in the series, shot though the temple, the bullet passing through his brain, and thus sidelined. Bernie, as first responder, is taken off the case and placed on leave (although that hardly stops her from nosing around). Cree is put in charge of the Navajo police investigation, while the FBI conducts its own case.

As did Tony Hillerman, his daughter captures much of the landscape and culture of the American Southwest, especially describing in detail Pueblo pottery and rug-weaving. However, much of the flavor of the original series does not get captured in this first effort. Perhaps, as she goes along in future installments, this aspect will improve. There seems to be some repetition and redundancy along the way, which could have been edited out. But the plot is solid, and the book certainly warrants a reading.

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Theodore Feit

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The Feit's reviews appear in numerous media outlets.

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