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Stars Collide with a Navajo Nation Murder Mystery in ‘Stargazer’ with Anne Hillerman; Moderated by Sarah Stein

May 20, 2021 @ 7:00 pm


  • STARGAZER | Anne Hillerman | BUY BOOK
  • All registrants receive 10% off book purchase with code ‘EVENT’

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The Tale Teller is more than just a police procedural set in the Southwest, it’s a reading experience not to be missed. Anne Hillerman has reached a new level of storytelling in this one, and she deserves recognition as one of the finest mystery authors currently working in the genre. —New York Journal of Books

Murder, deception, Navajo tradition, and the stars collide in this enthralling entry in New York Times bestselling author Anne Hillerman’s Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito series, set amid the beautiful landscape of the American Southwest.

What begins as a typical day for Officer Bernadette Manuelito—serving a bench warrant, dealing with a herd of cattle obstructing traffic, and stumbling across a crime scene—takes an unexpected twist when she’s called to help find an old friend. Years ago, Bernie and Maya were roommates, but time and Maya’s struggles with addiction drove them apart. Now Maya’s brother asks Bernie to find out what happened to his sister.

Tracing Maya’s whereabouts, Bernie learns that her old friend had confessed to the murder of her estranged husband, a prominent astronomer. But the details don’t align. Suspicious, Bernie takes a closer look at the case only to find that nothing is as it seems. Uncovering new information about the astronomer’s work leads Bernie to a remote spot on the Navajo Nation and a calculating killer.

The investigation causes an unexpected rift with her husband and new acting boss, Jim Chee, who’s sure Bernie’s headed for trouble. While she’s caught between present and past, Chee is at a crossroads of his own. Burdened with new responsibilities he didn’t ask for and doesn’t want, he must decide what the future holds for him and act accordingly.

Can their mentor Joe Leaphorn—a man also looking at the past for answers to the future—provide the guidance both Bernie and Chee need? And will the Navajo heroes that stud the starry sky help them find justice—and the truth they seek?


Anne Hillerman, the author of the Leaphorn-Chee-Manuelito series, began her career as a journalist and writer of nonfiction books. The daughter of New York Times bestselling author Tony Hillerman, she lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This is her sixth novel and the twenty-fourth in the Hillerman series.

“When I was a youngster, I remember grownups asking if I wanted to be a writer like my father, Tony Hillerman. I lied and said no, but secretly I did. My Dad was my hero. He went to work in the morning and came home with something wonderful—stories. At first, they were stories of the news he had covered as a journalist; then stories of the students he taught at the University of New Mexico and, finally, stories of the joys and challenges of his ultimate career as a fiction writer.

Stories have been like oxygen to me from the time I was old enough to climb onto a welcoming lap and snuggle up with the storyteller. My parents shared their deep passion for reading: something vitally important to a potential writer. And they shared their sense of adventure. My five brothers and sisters and I would pile into the family station wagon for trips exploring the Southwest.

From reading stories, the next step was writing my own. I started with true stories for student newspapers, then writing and editing for “real“ newspapers, radio newsrooms and magazines. That segued into opinion columns, feature stories and reviews, and then to travel guides and other non-fiction books.

After Tony Hillerman died in 2008, I got the happy idea to write a novel that would keep the stories he created alive by putting his characters to work solving new crimes. One of his minor characters, Navajo police officer, Bernadette Manuelito, became my central protagonist.

Here I am, many novels later, amazed and delighted at what these characters still have to say. And eager to see what happens next.”


Sarah Stein joined Harper Books in 2018 as a senior editor, after working at Penguin Books and Riverhead. Sarah is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and started her career at The Paris Review.


May 20, 2021
7:00 pm
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