Sacred Clowns–Tony Hillerman

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I’m finally back to this series–my library inexplicably only had it in hard copy until recently, when they got the e-version, and since I do most of my reading on my phone these days, I paused the series.

I love these books. They almost make me forget how much I hate the heat and dryness of the desert.

This book begins with Jim Chee and his girlfriend with some other people, sitting on the roof of a house, watching a ceremonial dance. This dance comes from a different tribe, so they don’t really understand all of it. One of the components is a group called “sacred clowns” who act like clowns but are used to show how silly and bumbling and flawed humans are compared to the gods, who are also portrayed in the dance.

By the end, one of the clowns has been killed.

This appears to tie to an earlier murder at a school. A popular shop teacher was killed in his classroom, and silver and other things used in shop were found in the home of a local drunk who knew him. Case closed, but it doesn’t feel right. If he’d killed the teacher and stolen silver, he’d have sold the silver immediately.

The two murders are connected–the nephew of the killed dancer was friends with someone in the shop teacher’s class, was seen at the school that night, and has gone missing.

Chee and his boss have to figure out why someone would kill a clown dancer, who had no enemies as far as anyone knew, and how that connects to a well-loved and generous teacher at the local school.

 

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