|Margaret Coel: Wife of Moon|
Berkley Prime Crime (Hardcover), ISBN 0-425-19814-6
It would be difficult (and untrue) to call them a dashing, crime-solving duo, but certainly Father John O'Malley, Jesuit priest, and Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden manage to find the truth (even if they get a minus on the dashing). Even if the truth of the first murder -- unsolved for nearly a century -- spreads its greedy arms to the present day and delivers two more bodies, this duo will find the motive, the opportunity and the perpetrator. The method, in the case of the latest murders, presents no problem. It's as plain as white and red -- blood red.
Native American photographer Edward S. Curtis went to the Wind River Reservation in 1907 intending to document the Arapaho way of life. During a battle he staged, the daughter of the tribal chief died -- shot at close range by person or persons unknown. Her murder remains unsolved.
Now an exhibit displays Curtis' photographs at the museum of St. Francis Mission on the same reservation. A descendant of the tribal chief, Sharp Nose, lies dead -- and the curator of the museum disappears. The two incidents may or may not be linked to the first murder. Vicky and Father John must find the answers before even more danger finds a human target on the reservation -- and even more people die.
Flawed and needy, Father O'Malley and Vicky struggle with their own personal demons while striving to save their friends and bring to light old secrets -- deadly secrets. An excellent plot, based on a historical fact, keeps the pages turning and the interest high. This novel clearly demonstrates why critics compare Coel's writing to Tony Hillerman. If you like mysteries dealing with Native Americans and their culture, Wife of Moon should be high on your "To Read List."
Note: Edward S. Curtis did, indeed, take photographs of the Arapaho at the Wind River Reservation.
Patricia Lucas White
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