Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sad News For Mystery Readers

I just saw that Tony Hillerman, one of my favorite mystery writers, has passed. Opening one of his books was like using a teleporter: You were instantly immersed in his setting, in the world he was writing about. I've heard long-time Hillerman readers who were reading different books swapping gossip about the characters, ones reading later books telling how relationships were going to develop, ones reading earlier books pointing out clues to character development the later-book reader had forgotten. I couldn't, of course, but I feel like I could find my way around the reservation without a map, just from reading Hillerman's books.

Note for fellow writers: I'm told that, when he sent his first Navaho cop book to his agent, the agent advised him to take all the Indian stuff out of it. I guess the moral is, write from your heart and your readers--and your work--will respond.


Gayle said...

Oh, I'm so sorry about this! My friend Margaret Tessler is in his writing group in Arizona. I'll have to write her. Thank you for letting us know.

One cute anecdote, Margaret once wrote me that Mr. Hillerman brought in one of his royalty checks to "show off." It was a little over eleven dollars! :-)

Dana Fredsti said...

My parents and sister in law love his books - on my 'to read' stack. He's certainly left a wonderful legacy behind. And good thing he left all that 'Indian stuff' in there.

Donis Casey said...

My husband's cousin worked with Hillerman on the Santa Fe New Mexican back in the fifties, and loved him. Hillerman was a fellow Oklahoman by birth, and was extraordinarily kind to give me a nice blurb for my first book. I'm so sad about his passing. I'll miss Chee and Leaphorn.