Berkley, Sept 2004, 22.95, 288 pp.
The murders begin in 1907 on the Arapaho Wind River Reservation when photographer Edward S. Curtis convinces the Indians to reconstruct a village and have warriors attack the tribe. During the shooting with blank bullets, Bashful Woman, the daughter of Chief Sharp Nose, is killed by a real bullet. Her Anglo husband Carston Evans testifies that he saw the Indian Thunder kill his wife and his two Native American friends were adding him in the attack. His testimony was enough to convict and hang the trio.
In the present, Denise, a descendant of Sharp Nose is murdered and her husband J.T. Painted Horse is the FBI's number one suspect until he is tortured and killed by men who were looking for something on the same night Denise died. Christine, the curator of the Arapaho Museum, disappears and her home is ransacked. Lawyer Vicky Holden and Father John O'Malley investigate the homicide from different directions, but reach the same conclusion. Vicky tries to convince the authorities who she believes is behind the murders while Father John tries to protect the last remaining witness.
Through the use of flashbacks readers learn what really happened on that day in 1907 and how justice was thwarted. The Arapaho still seek justice for Bashful Women in the present but they are up against high powered politicians who will use any means at their disposal to erase the proof of what happened almost a century ago and they will kill anyone who has knowledge of that event. WIFE OF MOON is an exciting who-done-it that will appeal to fans of Tony Hillerman and David and Aimee Thurlo thrillers. Margaret Coel provides a deep look at the Arapaho culture wrapped around a fabulous mystery.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner