Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tony Hillerman, a helluva guy, R.I.P.

I haven't been able to bring myself to write before about the loss to the mystery community of one of the greatest authors. Award winning author Tony Hillerman died last weekend of pulmonary failure. Particularly sad because Tony had a big heart. He was friendly and supportive to all he met. He was a gentleman and a gentle man.

Tony Hillerman was the acclaimed author of the Navajo Tribal Police mystery series featuring Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee. Anne Hillerman said Sunday that her father was a born storyteller. "He had such a wonderful, wonderful curiosity about the world," she said. "He could take little details and bring them to life, not just in his books, but in conversation, too."

Deanne Stillman wrote a wonderful tribute at LA Observed. Marilyn Stasio, NYT mystery reviewer, also has a wonderful obituary.

I was lucky to meet Tony on many occasions at Bouchercons and other conventions over the years. I remember his cogent thoughts and comments on Native American religion, culture and spirituality on my panel on religion and the mystery at the 1985 Bouchercon. It was a Sunday afternoon, a time when most attendees would have left, but the room was full. They came to hear this great man, this great writer, this great friend who instilled his fans and readers with a respect and knowledge of Native Anmerican culture. He'll be missed.

1 comment:

vallerose said...

The death of Tony Hillerman is more personal for me than others because my husband Marc and I used to do many driving trips through the southwest and we went to many of the places mentioned in his books. Reading Hillerman's books increased the specialness of the area. I did meet him at conferences and loved listening to his talks. He was a wonderful raconteur.
Vallery Feldman