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Mesa Public Library’s Authors Speak Series presents author Anne Hillerman, who continues one of the Southwest’s best loved series begun by her father Tony Hillerman with her first novel, Spider Woman’s Daughter, now available from Harper Press.
Hillerman will talk about the process of writing her first novel and will be joined by students from the New Mexico School for the Arts who will read quotes and passages from the book.
Her presentation is a narrated slide show with photographs by Don Strel of the landscape she and her father write about. The presentation will be 7 p.m. Oct. 30 in the upstairs meeting room.
The eldest of best-selling mystery author Tony Hillerman’s six children, Hillerman grew up in Santa Fe and Albuquerque surrounded by stories and the beautiful landscapes.
Like her father, she began her career in journalism, working briefly in radio and television news and then as a reporter, feature writer and editorial page editor for newspapers and magazines.
She continues her interest in journalism as a restaurant critic for the Albuquerque Journal and Journal North.
Hillerman is a founding director of the Santa Fe-based WORDHARVEST Writers Workshops and the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference. She helped create the Tony Hillerman Prize for best first mystery novel set in the Southwest, awarded annually by St. Martin’s Press.
Before turning to fiction, she wrote seven non-fiction books including Tony Hillerman’s “Landscape: On the Road with Chee and Leaphorn” (HarperCollins) and “Gardens of Santa Fe” (both GibbsSmith Publisher), both in collaboration with photographer Don Strel, her husband.
Hillerman has received numerous honors for her work including the Independent Booksellers’ Mountains and Plains Book Award, two New Mexico Book Awards and two Santa Fe Reporter’s Best of Santa Fe Awards. She was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award.
The New Mexico Chapter of Women in the Arts has recognized Hillerman as an “Outstanding Woman Author.” In 2012, she was honored as One of New Mexico’s Remarkable Women, an award presented by SOMOS, a long-established literary group based in Taos.
In 2012 and 2013, Hillerman and Strel worked as study guides for Road Scholar, sharing stories and information with guests on the Tony Hillerman’s Landscape tour, a program based on their book. She and Strel live and work in Santa Fe. When she’s not working, her idea of a well-spent day is skiing fresh powder with friends, followed by a classic Western sunset, a fine meal and a good book.
In the spirit of best-selling author Tony Hillerman’s Navajo mystery series, Spider Woman’s Daughter returns to the magnificent Indian Country environments and beloved detectives Hillerman created and developed for more than 30 years.
Hillerman expertly captures the landscape and culture of the American Southwest as she constructs a riveting novel of crime and punishment, shifting the novel’s spotlight from Leaphorn and Chee to Bernadette Manuelito, introducing new characters and bringing back readers’ much-missed favorites.
Seeing a fellow officer gunned down before her eyes leaves Officer Bernadette Manuelito shaken —and determined to find the shooter and the reason behind the attack.
Bernie blames herself and, even though she’s taken off the case, vows to solve the mystery. Using her knowledge of Navajo culture, good police work and a bit of intuition, Bernie unravels the clues.
The quest leads her from the home by the San Juan River in Shiprock she shares with husband Jim Chee to trendy Santa Fe and the mysterious abandoned cities of Chaco Canyon.
Just as Spider Woman taught the Navajo people to weave, Bernie weaves together seemingly unrelated details: priceless ancient pots, a young man who misses a day of college classes, an unidentified body discovered in the rocks above the grave of the famous Western explorer, an appraiser with a mysterious past, and more. In solving the crime, she delves into old resentments and long-simmered hatred.
Infused with subtle humor, Spider Woman’s Daughter picks up where Tony Hillerman left off, and adds a fresh perspective in this continuation of a series.