Radio Wolinsky

The Probabilities Archive: Tony Hillerman (1925-2008) I, 1987

Tony Hillerman, who died in 2008 at the age of 83, was a master of the detective genre and an important writer in detailing life on the Navajo reservation. His several novels featuring Navajo police officers Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee have been acclaimed for their accuracy and for their ability to combine Navajo history and thought into strong plot-driven novels.

There are four interviews with Tony Hillerman in the Probabilities and Bookwaves archive. This first interview, conducted by Richard A. Lupoff, the late co-host of Probabilities, was recorded on January 14, 1987 in a hotel in San Francisco while Hillerman was on tour for his novel, Skinwalkers, the seventh in the series, and the first to feature both Leaphorn and Chee. He would continue to write a total of eighteen books in the series, and his daughter, Anne Hillerman, has continued the series with eight more novels, the most recent being The Way of the Bear, which was published in April, 2023.

Tony Hillerman also wrote four novels outside the series, and several books of non-fiction and photography. The Dark Wind was adapted into a theatrical film in 1991. Three other novels were adapted as TV movies for PBS, and Dark Winds, a streaming series currently on AMC, is adapted from Hillerman’s Leaphorn and Chee novels.