DEATH AT LA OSA
A Pueblo Tribal Police Mystery Novel
By Jack Matthews
The search for a prehistoric turquoise mine, murder, pueblo ceremonialism, a bookshop, and sheepherders and horsemen form a contemporary novel set in the high country of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of northern New Mexico. (SEE MOVIE/TV TREATMENT BELOW)
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North of Taos, New Mexico, an unidentified murder victim wearing a belt with a turquoise buckle of rare dendrite quality is discovered on the edge of the Tulona Reservation. Tribal policeman Richard Tafoya takes charge of the investigation to determine the identity and killer. Tafoya meets Forest Service biology specialist Janet Rael as he follows leads from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the Navajo Reservation in the west. Within a social interplay of Puebloan, Hispano, and Anglo cultures, Tafoya searches for the kill site to unravel the strange numbers on the back of the turquoise stones. The Tulona Pueblo’s ceremonies of racing and pole climbing on Feast Day provide a mystical overlay to the chase. With the aid of a Navajo medicine man and a cartographer with the Bureau of Land Management, Tafoya and Janet discover not only the prehistoric turquoise mine, but also the killer. Along the way they brave high mountain altitudes, desert mesas, National Forests, and sharp changes in weather from desert heat to snow and rain. Includes Readers Guide.
Jack Matthews is a former professor of history and anthropology. An outdoorsman and mountaineer, he completed archaeological field school at Ghost Ranch, near Abiquiu, New Mexico. He conducted field trips to northern New Mexico, climbed the Truchas, Pedernal, and San Mateo Peaks, and wrote about the environmental influence on Georgia O’Keeffe’s art. Currently, he observes forests and mesas and trades “the old way” with his Puebloan friends.
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