|Plot Summary of Dance Hall of the Dead|
When two boys disappear, one of them leaving a pool of blood behind. Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal Police finds himself not only tracking a ruthless killer into the desert but finding out about the mysteries of the Zuni people's religion and in the politics of a controversial archeological dig. In his Navajo way, the Lieutenant tries to think his way through the problem and with the help of a sympathetic girl from a dodgy commune who befriended the missing boys, sets out to find the truth and if the boys are still alive.
This synopsis report prepared by Di Bingham
A ritual slaying leads Lt. Joe Leaphorn straight into the mystifying secrets of the Zuni,
requiring all his skill and intelligence to solve this mystery. In “Dance Hall of the Dead,”
Tony Hillerman continues his stories set in the Navajo nation. A young Zuni is the victim,
the boy's best friend is missing, and Leaphorn is off on an Odyssey of the Arizona
Southwest. Leaphorn is a human segue for the Navajo peoples; at once, he seeks to
preserve this ancient culture as well as to try to understand it; on the other hand, he clearly
understands that he is living in the 20th century. He tries diligently to bridge the two. In
the Hillerman stories, we find, in addition to a murder here and there, we find a lesson in
native American culture as well. The reservation is alive with archeological finds, religious
beliefs, skinwalkers, a tapestry of the Old. This doesn't faze Leaphorn, however, who
knows that the answers are always there, whether it be with Navajo beliefs or relying on
modern crime-solving techniques.
This synopsis report prepared by Bill Hobbs
|Chapter Analysis of Dance Hall of the Dead|
Ratings are on a 1-10 scale (Low to High)
Composition of Book
descript. of violence and chases - 10%
Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives - 30%
Feelings, relationships, character bio/development - 30%
How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) - 30%
Tone of story
- very upbeat
How difficult to spot villain?
- Difficult, but some clues given
Time/era of story:
What % of story relates directly
to the mystery, not the subplot?
Misc. Murder Plotlets
- Big focus on forensic evidence
Kind of investigator
- American Indian mystery
Kid or adult book?
- Adult or Young Adult Book
Any non-mystery subplot?
- life in that culture
Murder Mystery (killer unknown)
General Crime (including known murderer)
Who's the criminal enemy here?
- drug dealers
- finding a known killer
- government investigator
- Pacific NW
Accounts of torture and death?
- moderately detailed references to deaths
Amount of dialog
- roughly even amounts of descript and dialog
Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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