Tony Hillerman

(1925 – 2008)

Tony HillermanBiographical Sketch

Tony (Anthony) Grove Hillerman (Sacred Heart, OK, USA, May 27, 1925 – Albuquerque, NM, USA, October 26, 2008) was an award-winning American author of detective novels and non-fiction works, best known for his Navajo Tribal Police mystery novels. Hillerman’s writing is noted for the cultural details he provides about his subjects: Hopi, Zuñi, European-American, federal agents, and especially Navajo Tribal Police. His works in nonfiction and in fiction reflect his appreciation of the natural wonders of the American Southwest and his appreciation of its people, particularly the Navajo.

His novel Dance Hall of the Dead won the 1974 Edgar Award in the “Best Mystery Novel” category. Skinwalkers won the 1988 Anthony Award for “Best Novel,” and The Mysterious West won the 1995 Anthony Award in the “Best Anthology / Short Story Collection” category. A Thief of Time won the Macavity “Best Novel” award in 1989, and Talking Mysteries won the Macavity “Best Critical/Biographical” award in 1992. Hillerman’s last win came at the 2002 Anthony Awards, at which he won the “Best Non-fiction/Critical Work” award for his memoir Seldom Disappointed.

His novels The Dark Wind, Skinwalkers, Coyote Waits, and A Thief of Time were adapted for the screen in 1991 (The Dark Wind) and 2002-2004 (Skinwalkers, Coyote Waits, and A Thief of Time), respectively; the latter three as TV movies coproduced by Robert Redford.

Read more about Tony Hillerman on Wikipedia.


Major Awards and Honors

Edgar (Allan Poe) Awards
(Mystery Writers of America)
  • 1974: Best Novel – “Dance Hall of the Dead”
  • 1991: Grand Master Award – Lifetime Achievement
Agatha Awards (USA)
  • 2002: Best Nonfiction – “Seldom Disappointed: A Memoir”
  • 2002: Lifetime Achievement Award
Nero Wolfe Award (USA)
  • 1991: Best Mystery of the Year – “Coyote Waits”
Anthony Awards (World Mystery Convention)
  • 1988: Best Novel – “Skinwalkers”
  • 1995: Best Short Story Collection/Anthology – “The Mysterious West” (Editor)
  • 2002: Best Nonfiction – “Seldom Disappointed: A Memoir”
Macavity Awards
(Mystery Readers International)
  • 1989: Best Novel – “A Thief of Time”
Grand Prix de Littérature Policière (France)
  • 1987: “Dance Hall of the Dead”



The Joe Leaphorn/Jim Chee Mysteries
  • The Joe Leaphorn Mysteries (1989)
    • The Blessing Way (1970)
    • Dance Hall of the Dead (1973)
    • Listening Woman (1978)
  • The Jim Chee Mysteries (1990)
    • People of Darkness (1980)
    • The Dark Wind (1982)
    • The Ghostway (1984)
  • The Leaphorn & Chee Novels (1992)
    • Skinwalkers (1986)
    • A Thief of Time (1988)
    • Talking God (1989)
  • Coyote Waits (1990)
  • Sacred Clowns (1993)
  • Leaphorn, Chee, and More (2005)
    • The Fallen Man (1996)
    • The First Eagle (1998)
    • Hunting Badger (1999)
  • The Wailing Wind (2002)
  • The Sinister Pig (2003)
  • Skeleton Man (2004)
  • The Shape Shifter (2006)
Nonseries Fiction
  • The Fly on the Wall (1971)
  • The Boy Who Made Dragonfly (1972)
    – For children.
  • Buster Mesquite’s Cowboy Band (1973)
    – For children.
  • Finding Moon (1995)
Compilations and Anthologies
  • The Spell of New Mexico (1976)
  • The Perfect Murder (1991)
    – With Lawrence Block, Sarah Caudwell, Peter Lovesey and Donald Westlake.
  • Best of the Western Anthology of Classic Writing from the America West (1991)
    – Editor.
  • The Mysterious West (1995)
  • The Oxford Book of American Detective Stories (1996)
    – Coeditor with Rosemary Herbert.
  • Best American Mystery Stories of the Century (2000)
    – Coeditor, with Otto Penzler.
  • New Omnibus of Crime (2005)
    – Editor.
Memoirs and Other Nonfiction
  • The Great Taos Bank Robbery and Other Indian Country Affairs (1973)
  • New Mexico, Rio Grande, And Other Essays (1975)
  • Rio Grande (1975)
    – With photography by Robert Reynolds.
  • New Mexico Photography (1975)
    – With photography by David Muench.
  • Indian Country: America’s Sacred Land (1987)
    – With photography by Béla Kalman.
  • Hillerman Country (1991)
  • Talking Mysteries (1991)
    – With Ernie Bulow.
  • Tony Hillerman’s Indian Country Map & Guide (1998)
  • Canyon De Chelly (1998)
  • Seldom Disappointed: A Memoir (2001)
  • Tony Hillerman’s Navajoland: Hideouts, Haunts and Havens in the Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee Mysteries (2001)
    – With a foreword by Hillerman.
  • Kilroy Was There (2004)


A Selection of Quotes

The Ghostway

“Everything is connected. The wing of the corn beetle affects the direction of the wind, the way the sand drifts, the way the light reflects into the eye of man beholding his reality. All is part of totality, and in this totality man finds his hozro, his way of walking in harmony, with beauty all around him.”

Coyote Waits

“From where we stand the rain seems random. If we could stand somewhere else, we would see the order in it.”

Find more quotes by Tony Hillerman on Goodreads.