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Mesilla Valley book club hosts author of Hillerman biography


The Mesilla Valley/Southern New Mexico Book Club will host James McGrath Morris, author of “Tony Hillerman: A Life” for an in-person and Zoom presentation from 4 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21. The book was published earlier this month.

The simultaneous events are free and open to the public.

The in-person presentation will be held at the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce, 150 E. Lohman Ave.

You must have a free ticket for the in-person presentation, since space is limited.  Masks are required.

Tickets and Zoom credentials are available by emailing bitsabookclub@gmail.com.

Morris, who lives in Santa Fe, is an award-winning biographer and writer of narrative non-fiction. He has written extensively for newspapers, magazines and academic journals. Prior to becoming a full-time writer, he spent a decade as a journalist, a decade working in the book and magazine business and a decade as a high-school teacher.

Tony Hillerman (1925-2008) was an American mystery author noted for the cultural details he provided about his subjects: Hopi, Zuni and especially Navajo Tribal Police, the book club said in a news release. “Hillerman’s work reflects his appreciation of the natural wonders of the American Southwest and his appreciation of its indigenous people,” the news release said.

His novels are set in the Four Corners area. The protagonists are Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police. Lt. Leaphorn was introduced in Hillerman's first novel, “The Blessing Way,” published in 1970. His last Leaphorn-Chee novel was “The Shape Shifter,” published in 2006. Hillerman lived in Albuquerque.

Morris’ book captures the author’s early years in Depression-era Oklahoma; his near-death experience in World War II; his 60-year marriage; his family life, including six children, five of them adopted; his work as a journalist; his affliction with PTSD and its connection to his enchantment with Navajo spirituality; and his ascension as one of America’s best-known mystery writers, the book club said.

Visit www.oupress.com/books/16548294/tony-hillerman and https://jamesmcgrathmorris.com/.