Sinister Pig

Sinister Pig

by Tony Hillerman

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062018045
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/25/2011
Series: Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee Series , #16
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 142,968
Product dimensions: 4.70(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Tony Hillerman (1925–2008), an Albuquerque, New Mexico, resident since 1963, was the author of 29 books, including the popular 18-book 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.


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Date of Birth:

May 27, 1925

Date of Death:

October 26, 2008

Place of Birth:

Sacred Heart, Oklahoma

Place of Death:

Albuquerque, New Mexico


B.A., University of Oklahoma, 1946; M.A., University of New Mexico, 1966

Read an Excerpt

The Sinister Pig

By Hillerman, Tony


ISBN: 0061098787

Chapter One

David Slate reached across the tiny table in Bistro Bis and handed an envelope to the graying man with the stiff burr haircut.

"You are now Carl Mankin," Slate said. "You are newly retired from the Central Intelligence Agency. You are currently employed as a consultant for Seamless Weld. Along with your new credit card, Carl, that envelope holds a lot of authentic-looking stuff from Seamless. Business cards, expense account forms -- that sort of material. But the credit card should cover any expenses."

"Carl Mankin," the burr-haired man said, inspecting the card. "And a Visa card. 'Carl Mankin' should be easy to remember. And by next Tuesday, I actually will be newly retired from the CIA." He was older than middle age, well past sixty, but trim, sunburned, and young looking. He sorted through the papers from the envelope and smiled at Slate. "However, I don't seem to find a contract in here," he said.

Slate laughed. "And I'll bet you didn't expect to find one, either. The senator works on the old-fashioned 'gentlemen's agreement' contract. You know, 'Your word's as good as your bond.' That sounds odd here in Washington these days, but some of the old-timers still like to pretend there is honor alive among the political thieves."

"Remind me of what that word is, then," the new Carl Mankin said. "As I remember it, you buy my time for thirty days, or until the job is done. Or failing that, I tell you it can't be done. And the pay is fifty thousand dollars, either way it works out."

"And expenses," Slate said. "But the credit card should cover that unless you're paying somebody to tell you something." He chuckled. "Somebody who doesn't accept a Visa card."

Carl Mankin put everything back into the envelope, and the envelope on the table beside his salad plate. "Who actually pays the credit card bill? I noticed my Carl Mankin address is in El Paso, Texas."

"That's the office of Seamless Weld," Slate said. "The outfit you're working for."

"The senator owns it? That doesn't sound likely."

"It isn't likely. It's one of the many subsidiaries of Searigs Corporation, and that, so I understand, is partly owned and totally controlled by A.G.H. Industries."

"Searigs? That's the outfit that built the offshore-drilling platforms for Nigeria," said Carl Mankin. "Right?"

"And in the North Sea," Slate said. "For the Norwegians. Or was it the Swedish?"

"Owned by the senator?"

"Of course not. Searigs is part of A.G.H. Industries. What are you getting at, anyway?"

"I am trying to get at who I am actually working for." Slate sipped his orange juice, grinned at Carl Mankin, said: "You surely don't think anyone would have told me that, do you?"

"I think you could guess. You're the senator's chief administrative aide, his picker of witnesses for the committees he runs, his doer of undignified deeds, his maker of deals with the various lobbyists -- " Mankin laughed. "And need I say it, his finder of other guys like me to run the senator's errands with somebody else paying the fee. So I surely do think you could make an accurate guess. But would you tell me if you did?"

Slate smiled. "Probably not. And I am almost certain you wouldn't believe me if I told you."

"In which case, I should probably make sure to get my pay in advance."

Slate nodded. "Exactly. When we finish lunch, and you pay for it with your new Visa card, we'll go down to the bank I use. We transfer forty-nine thousand five hundred dollars into Carl Mankin's account there, and I present you the deposit slip."

"And the other five hundred?"

Slate got out his wallet, extracted a deposit slip, and handed it to Carl Mankin. It showed a Carl Mankin account opened the previous day with a five-hundred-dollar deposit. Mankin put it in his shirt pocket, then took it out and laid it on the table.

"An account opened for an imaginary man without his signature. I didn't know that could be done."

Slate laughed. "It's easy if the proper vice president calls down from upstairs and says do it."

"We need to be clear about this," Mankin said. "You want me to go out to that big Four Corners oil patch in New Mexico, look it over, see if I can find out how the pipeline system out there was used -- and maybe still is being used -- to bypass paying royalty money into the Interior Department's trust fund for the Indians. Does that about summarize the job?"

Slate nodded.

"That's a big part of it. The most important information of all is the names of those switching the stuff around so the money for it goes into the right pockets. And who owns the pockets."

"And the senator understands that this is likely to produce nothing. I presume it is one of a whole bunch of ways he's looking for some way to pin the blame, or the corruption, on somebody for that four- or five-billion-dollar loss of royalty money from the Tribal Trust Funds. The one the Washington Post has been writing about for the past month. The one the Secretary of Interior and the Bureau of Indian Affairs honchos are in trouble over."

Slate was grinning again. "Was that intended as a question? What do the press secretaries say to questions like that?" He slipped into a serious, disapproving expression. "We never comment on speculation."

"The newspapers say that this ripping off the four billion or so of Tribal royalty money has been going on for more than fifty years. And they're quoting the government bean counters. Right? I can't see much hope of me finding anything new..."


Excerpted from The Sinister Pig by Hillerman, Tony Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Legends of the Southwest: Hillerman, Leaphorn, and Chee
Legendary investigator Joe Leaphorn returns from retirement to join forces with tenacious tribal cop Jim Chee and newbie Border Patrol officer Bernie Manuelito in Tony Hillerman's intricately plotted Sinister Pig. Upon the publication of the book, Ransom Notes asked its prolific author to share some thoughts on his compelling southwestern series and explain how each of the investigators fits into the Navajo culture they share.

Tony Hillerman: Leaphorn was originally modeled a bit on a young Hutchinson County, Texas, sheriff I knew when I was a police reporter for a paper in the Texas Panhandle -- a wise and humane cop to whom I added some Navajo cultural characteristics.

Chee I modeled after younger Navajo types who (unlike Leaphorn's generation) had not been put into government boarding schools and thus were not deprived of the cultural teaching Navajo children traditionally receive. He has always been more dedicated to the Navajo Way…and less willing than Leaphorn to give whiteman laws precedence.

Bernie Manuelito is my way of sharing with readers my high regard for the respect the Navajo culture has always given women. She's meant to represent a fairly typical woman of the Dinee (the Navajo people) today.

Ransom Notes: Do you think your work has made any changes in the mystery field over the years?

TH: I think the mystery field has tended to wisely follow American readers' tastes, and sometimes perhaps lead them. I like to believe that my own Leaphorn/Chee books have had some effect on broadening American understanding that tribal cultures are much more sophisticated than many readers had known. In my opinion, we could improve our majority culture by learning from the Navajo sense of humor, and their attitudes about family values, good manners, and the evils of greed.

RN: What made you decide to emphasize the role federal corruption plays in crimes ranging from the illegal drug trade to the missing/stolen royalties due on natural resources taken from tribal land?

TH: I try to give my readers realistic, believable plots. I think most of those who read my books are well-informed and wise folks who would be aware that corruption as well as incompetence must be involved in the billions missing from tribal trust funds. I grew up in a "prohibition" state, where everyone down to grade-schoolers knew who and where the whiskey bootleggers were, knew the police must know, and understood why the new sheriff could immediately buy a new Caddy. The "war on drugs" is much more corrupt than the failed war on whiskey. Why not use it?

Some of the basic ideas behind The Sinister Pig were suggested to me by two women who have worked with the Border Patrol, Customs Service, and Treasury Department. They gave me the idea of enlisting Bernie in the Border Patrol and then pointed to the problem posed by abandoned pipelines. It also helped that my brother Barney was a petroleum geologist and we grew up on the edge of the Seminole "oil patch" in Oklahoma.

In addition, as a political reporter I became interested in the reluctance of bureaucrats to look on information as valuable currency, to be used to trade for favors and political benefit. I think this one of the sociological facts that makes it difficult for law enforcement to be efficient in small-town America, when decisions and data must be filtered through layer after layer of patronage politicians, many of whom have not a clue about how policemen work.

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Sinister Pig 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm afraid I have to agree with Libary Journal (the review)...I love Hillerman's other novels...have read all of his fiction twice...something I never do with other books. In this one, I'm afraid the 'magic' is gone...its just another mystery, with little of the Navajo lore/culture/country. Its like it was sort of last hurrah (hope not) if he had run out of ideas for Chee and Leaphorn. Please, Mr. Hillerman...bring back your magic!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book did not read like an authentic Hillerman book. Most of the story dealt with Washington politics and corporate crime. There was a little suspense since the conclusion was evident almost from the beginning. As a long time fan, I bought this book, but I hope that he will go back to his stories of the southwest and Navajo culture and to real mysteries, not political statements.
kimreadthis on LibraryThing 1 days ago
I did not exactly love or hate this book. It was just okay. This was the first Hillerman I have read. The Native American aspects were interesting, but there was a bit too much attention paid to geography for my liking. I think reading a book from the middle of the series may not have been the best method, since a history of the two main characters was constantly hinted at, but never fully explained in this novel.
MusicMom41 on LibraryThing 1 days ago
This was our car book for the trip North and we finished in the two evenings after we got to Vallejo. I love not having cable TV up here¿we read or listen to books for entertainment. This one had both Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn along with Bernie Manuelito. Hillerman obviously had a low opinion of some government officials and corrupt politicians. It was a lot of fun and intriguing.
MrsLee on LibraryThing 1 days ago
This is not my favorite Hillerman book, seemed to have a bit of a rant about the "drug war" and all. However, it was a concise little story, not so much a mystery as a way to forward events in the life of Jim Chee. I enjoyed the read, even if I didn't feel it was one of his best mysteries.
tjsjohanna on LibraryThing 1 days ago
Finally! Jim has quit being obtuse and might actually have a healthy relationship with someone who he can make a real life with! There wasn't much of a mystery to this one, but certainly the premise of smuggling drugs was intriguing.
EssFair on LibraryThing 1 days ago
Hillerman pulls in corrupt government and a corrupt millionaire from the East and sends Bernie off to become a Border Patrol. The dead body that starts the investigation is found on Navajo Tribal land but most of the action takes place near the Mexican border. Joe and Chee work together to solve this mystery and save Bernie¿s life. Not one of Hillerman¿s best¿the ending is weak and Bernie is really saved by one of the villains having a change of heart.
egyarnetsky on LibraryThing 29 days ago
Billions in oil and gas royalties earmarked for the native American nations are missing and a federal agent investigating the case is killed in cold blood on the Navajo reservation. Navajo Police Sergeant Jim Chee tries to investigate the murder, but is strangely stifled by the FBI. Meanwhile Chee¿s former cohort Bernie Manualito, now with the Border Patrol, stumbles across an unusual ranch that her boss wants left well enough alone.As these seemingly disparate cases connect tighter to each other and to Washington, Chee and Manualito find that the oil, gas and royalty monies are not the only things flowing through the region.This book, the 16th in the series, is less steeped in Navajo culture than Hillerman's previous works and is not quite as enjoyable as others in the series. Even so, the Western landscape is lushly described and becomes an integral character in this novel.
eduscapes on LibraryThing 3 months ago
I keep reading these books because I enjoy the characters. However, the stories are pretty predictable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good tale including Leaphorn & Cheer in the penultimate story by Tony himself
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
To fill contract if sick etc also may have been a short dragged out to make a book length novel with assissance from family or editor or secretary researcher. Many authors have a filler in case . How many continuations start with "from outline notes unfinished" by author? the series had changed over years and aging and changing cast did not help this was down hill or ghosted help from then on
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I used to be a great fan of Leaphorn & Co, but this book is like someone else published it under Hillerman's name. Nothing of that famous Navajo aura, a pretty unrealistic plot which does not play in Navajoland and could play anywhere in the world. I can't imagine Hillerman wrote this...
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this book was written for financial reasons. Leaphorn and Chee might have as well not been included in this story; their characters here are superficial at best. The the plot is extremely week with 'cookie cutter' mediocre villans.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think Mr. Hillerman wrote this book to just get paid. Leaphorn and Chee might have as well not been included in this book; their characters here are superficial at best. The plot is extremely week, the villans are mediocre and the only exciting section of the book is when Chee finally ask Ms. Manuelito to marry him; and this is at the very end. This book should have never been published in its current state. Skip it!