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Dance Hall Of The Dead is the second of the Navajo Tribal Police series of crime fiction novels by Tony Hillerman. Centered around the character of police Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, Dance Hall of the Dead is, like many of Hillerman's books, set on the Navajo Reservation in the Four Corners region of the American Southwest. Themes of the book include the Zuni religion and hostility between the Navajo and the Zuni.

Plot summary

When a young Zuni boy and his Navajo friend go missing, Lieutenant Leaphorn is called in by the Zuni Tribal Police to search for George Bowlegs, the missing Navajo boy. When Ernesto Cata, Bowlegs' Zuni friend is found murdered, the search for Bowlegs takes on even greater importance.


On-going series characters appearing in this novel include:
  • Joe Leaphorn, NavajoTribal Police Lieutenant
  • Emma Leaphorn, Leaphorn's wife and a Navajo traditionalist

Other characters introduced in this novel include:
  • Baker, drug enforcement agent
  • Cecil Bowlegs, George Bowlegs' younger brother
  • Chester Reynolds, Professor or Archaeology and graduate advisor to Isaacs
  • Ernesto Cata, young Zuni boy
  • Father Ingles, priest at the Saint Michael's Mission School which George attended
  • George Bowlegs, young Navajo boy, friend of Cata
  • Halsey, leader of the Hippie commune where Suzanne lives
  • John O'Malley, FBImarker agent
  • Shorty Bowlegs, George Bowlegs' father
  • Suzanne, a caring young woman, friend of George Bowlegs, living in a Hippie commune
  • Ted Isaacs, a rather homely graduate student of archaeology, excavating Professor Reynold's Folsom sitesdfsffsdffdsfsdfsfsdf


Dance Hall Of The Dead received the 1973 Edgar Award for Best Novel.

See also


  1. Mystery Writers of America Edgar(r) Award Winners database

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