Noted anthropologist Dr. Eleanor Friedman-Bernal vanishes from Chaco Canyon. She drove off to
Farmington and no one has seen her since.
At the same time, a backhoe goes missing from the Navajo Tribal motor pool.
As a favor to an old friend, Joe Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal police and on the brink of retirement,
begins to look into her disappearance. A look at her home leads him to believe she meant to return.
Meanwhile, Officer Jim Chee is assigned the case of the missing backhoe. Clues lead him to the
revival tent of Christian evangelist Slick Nagai, who has been known to deal with antiquities from many
caves excavated on the Anasazi sites. One of his customers is Dr. Eleanor Friedman-Bernal.
Chee's attempt to solve the backhoe mystery and Leaphorn's trying to solve the disappearance of
Friedman lead them to "thiefs of time" (pot hunters), who steal the antiquities, and to another
anthropologist bent on securing his reputation at all costs.
A Thief of Time (a thief of time is a pot hunter) is another absorbing story of the Navajo
Tribal Police. It combines police work, archaeology and indian culture. As is the case with all
Hillerman's novels, the author presents a vivid picture of the Navajo country and of the Navajo
culture and way of life. His characters are well developed. There is sometimes an uneasy relationship
between the veteran Leaphorn and young Chee, but they come to respect each other's beliefs.
Always worth a trip to the land of the Navajo.
Reviews of other titles in this series
#1 (Tony Hillerman)
of the Dead #2 (Tony Hillerman)
of Darkness #4 (Tony Hillerman)
in Time #8 (Tony Hillerman)
Man #17 (Tony Hillerman)
Shape Shifter #18 (Tony Hillerman)
with Wings (#1 Anne Hillerman)
of the Lion (#3 Anne Hillerman)