Tony Hillerman's experience as a journalist and a lover of Native American culture lent an unmistakable authenticity to his mysteries. In addition to his popular series starring Navajo Tribal Police detectives Chee and Leaphorn, he wrote standalone novels, essays about the Southwest, and a warmly reviewed autobiography (Seldom Disappointed) that revealed not only his talent, but his bravery as a soldier in World War II. He died in 2008 at the age of 83.
Tony Hillerman (1925-2008), an Albuquerque, New Mexico, resident since 1963, was the author of 29 books, including the popular 17-mystery series featuring Navajo police officers Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, two non-series novels, two children's books, and nonfiction works. He had received every major honor for mystery fiction; awards ranging from the Navajo Tribal Council's commendation to France's esteemed Grand prix de litterature policiere. Western Writers of America honored him with the Wister Award for Lifetime achievement in 2008. He served as president of the prestigious Mystery Writers of America, and was honored with that group's Edgar Award and as one of mystery fiction's Grand Masters. In 2001, his memoir, Seldom Disappointed, won both the Anthony and Agatha Awards for best nonfiction.