The Shape Shifter by Tony Hillerman

The Shape Shifter
(Leaphorn & Chee #18)
by Tony Hillerman




First Chapter/First Paragraph/Tuesday Intros is hosted by Bibliophile By The Sea. To play along, share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you’re reading or thinking about reading soon.

Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, retired, stopped his pickup about a hundred yards short of where he had intended to park, turned off the ignition, stared at Sergeant Jim Chee’s trailer home, and reconsidered his tactics. The problem was making sure he knew what he could tell them, and what he shouldn’t, and how to handle it without offending either Bernie or Jim. First he would hand to whomever opened the door the big woven basket of fruit, flowers, and candies that Professor Louisa Bourbonette had arranged as their wedding gift, and then keep the conversation focused on what they had thought of Hawaii on their honeymoon trip, and apologize for the duties that had forced both Louisa and him to miss the wedding itself. Then he would pound them with questions about their future plans, whether Bernie still intended to return to her job with the Navajo Tribal Police. She would know he already knew the answer to that one, but the longer he could keep them from pressing him with their own questions, the better. Maybe he could avoid that completely. It wasn’t likely. His answering machine had been full of calls from one or the other of them. Full of questions. Why hadn’t he called them back with the details of that Totter obituary he wanted them to look into? Why was he interested? Hadn’t he retired as he’d planned? Was this some old cold case he wanted to clear up as a going away present to the Navajo Tribal Police? And so forth?



Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jenn of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can participate. If you’re new to Teaser Tuesdays, the details are at Jenn’s A Daily Rhythm or on my Tuesday Memes Page.

Leaphorn wandered to the back door, noticing how lines of dust blown in through the vacant windows had formed across the floor, observing the piles of leaves in the corners, thinking how quickly nature moved to restore the damage done by man. He looked out at the burned remains of the gallery section, remembering how a typical torrential rain of the monsoon season had arrived in time to save this part of the Handy’s establishment.


The Shape Shifter (2006) is the last Leaphorn & Chee book published before Tony Hillerman’s death in 2008. I was saving it and now am finally reading it. Thanks to Betty Louise, I know that his daughter, Anne Hillerman, is continuing the series.

Have you read any of Hillerman’s mysteries?


16 comments on “The Shape Shifter by Tony Hillerman

  1. mysm2000 says:

    That really grabs my interest. I’d keep reading for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kay says:

    I read this one a few years ago. Loved Hillerman’s books – loved Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn. And, yes, Anne Hillerman has continued the series and has done a good job in my opinion. Enjoy!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Diana Leigh says:

    I’ve been meaning to start this series for a long time. Love the opening!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dagny says:

    It is, Emma. The series has been going a while as you can see by the #18.


  5. Diane D says:

    I never tried this author and know I should. I’d read more.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. iliana says:

    I’m a big mystery fan but somehow have not read any Hillman books. Crazy right? Very good teaser and definitely would make me curious to see what next!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dagny says:

      Crazy? Nah, I know what you mean. There are so many authors I haven’t gotten around to trying yet. These Tuesday Memes are good for helping sort some of them out.


  7. I’ve been curious about this author…even though this is not my usual genre, you have piqued my interest. Thanks for sharing…and for visiting my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. karend2007 says:

    This is a very intriguing opening paragraph. I would read on to find out the truth about the main character.

    Liked by 1 person

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