Born in the Depression in Sacred Heart, Oklahoma, Hillerman came form a poor family (no indoor plumbing or electricity till his teens) and is qualified to write convincingly of "down home" forgotten folks. In the Second World War, Hillerman stepped on a landmine but escaped with only two broken legs and temporary blindness. Interest from his local paper prompted him to become a journalist, and he remained one for 17 years.
Hillerman writes famously of the Navajo culture in a series of books based on two heroes, Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee. Initially, they appeared in separate stories but since Skinwalkers their tales combine. So well observed are his books that the Tribal Council has named Hillerman a Special Friend of the Navajo. No other white man has been so honoured. He has written around 15 works of fiction and half a dozen travel books. The Thief of Time maybe his best.
Return to 100 Masters of Crime