Badger hunting

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Badger Hunt is the 14th detective novel in a series by Tony Hillerman . Under the title Hunting Badger it was published in English in 1999 and in German for the first time in 2001 by Rowohlt Verlag .


Badger Hunt is a novel by Tony Hillerman from his series of ethnic crime novels, which focuses on investigators Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee . The context is the Navajo Tribal Police ( police of the Navajo Nation Reservation ), the social atmosphere in the reservation, the Indian culture and its tensions against the “white” majority civilization. The reservation is located in the sparsely populated northeast of the US state of New Mexico .



  • Officer ( Officer ) Jim Chee (warrior name: "The one who thinks ahead" or "Deep Thinker"), a member of the Navajo (also: Dinee, "people"). His intention was to become Hataalii , one who masters ritual chants that are used when a person no longer lives in harmony with himself and his environment and therefore falls ill. During the course of the novel, his mentor instructs him to decide for himself whether he is ready to carry out this task. Chee is deeply rooted in Navajo culture. He is no longer the acting head of the police station in Tuba City , as in the previous novel, The Eagle's Trail . He didn't like the paperwork involved at all. He's been demoted and has been reassigned to Shiprock .
  • Bernadette Manuelito ("Bernie") is a colleague of Chee.
  • Captain Largo is the boss of both and is usually in a bad mood.
  • Cowboy Dashee is Hopi , the deputy sheriff of Coconino County , and Chee has long been friends.
  • Joe Leaphorn was Lieutenant ( Lt. ) of the Navajo Tribal Police and retired for some time. He is also a Navajo and used to be the boss of Chee. After the death of his wife a few years ago and his retirement, he is lonely and devoted to investigations out of boredom. He lives in Windows Rock and is getting closer and closer to the ethnologist Louisa Bourebonette .
  • Captain Stoner , formerly of the New Mexico State Police in Gallup , is also retired but works part as security chief in Ute - casino .
  • Also working as the casino security guard to supplement his salary, Deputy Sheriff Teddy Bai of Montezuma County .
  • Special Agent Damon Cabot is conducting an FBI search .

The others

  • Louisa Bourebonette is a Professor of Social Anthropology at Northern Arizona University . She collects Indian lore and is friends with Joe Leaphorn.
  • Chee's mother's eldest brother, Frank Sam Nakai , and his mentor while trying to become a Hataalii , is in terminal stages of lung cancer . He is married to Blue Woman .
  • Roy Gershwin has contacts in the right wing, militant scene and offers information that could be crucial for the investigation.
  • Buddy Baker belongs to the right-wing, militant scene that has gathered in the "Rights Militia" movement.
  • George Ironhand is Ute with a notorious ancestor and also belongs to the right-wing, militant scene.
  • Everett Jorie , a former right-wing radio host and attorney, is a far -right militant intellectual and known for bringing his neighbors to court.
  • Eldon Timms , the owner of an elderly airplane, thinks the situation is favorable to get a lot of money for it.
  • Bashe Lady , an old woman from the Ute tribe, is an interviewee for Louisa Bourebonette's research. Bashe Lady knows a great deal about George Ironhand and his family.
  • Patti J. Collins directs and coordinates the helicopter flights for the Environment Agency.



The novel is set in 1999. A year earlier, after a police officer had been shot at a traffic stop, there had been a - in vain - large-scale manhunt for the perpetrators, who were submerged in the maze of canyons in the area. This is referred to repeatedly in the novel.

There are numerous abandoned coal and uranium mines in the area of ​​the reservation . The former date mainly from the 19th century, the latter from the 1940s, with coal and uranium often occurring in adjacent layers. The spoil heaps are still radioactive . The environmental agency is trying to identify these old waste deposits so that they can be covered.

The criminal case

Three men raid the Ute casino, shoot one guard, seriously injure another, and steal more than $ 400,000. The seriously injured security guard is a good friend of Bernadette Manuelito . He is suspected of being an informant for the attack. Bernadette Manuelito turns to Jim Chee and asks him for help in solving the crime.

Joe Leaphorn receives information from a third party that is important for an investigation of the crime, but can only pass it on with difficulty because otherwise he would endanger the informant. He begins his own investigation and comes across another body.

Only when Leaphorn and Chee meet and exchange information does the case move forward - a pattern that has already determined the actions of the previous novels in the series.

Another key element is that Jim Chee takes the information from the stories of Bashe Lady seriously, suspects a real background and thus stumbles upon the hiding place of the criminals.


As the plot progresses, it becomes increasingly clear to Jim Chee that he is in love with Bernadette Manuelito - the reverse has long been the case.

Joe Leaphorn and Louisa Bourebonette are now very close. He includes her in his investigation, discusses it with her, as he used to do with his wife, Emma.


  • Tony Hillerman: Hunting Badger . HarperCollins, New York 1999, ISBN 0-06-019289-5 (English language first edition).
  • Tony Hillerman: Badger Hunting . Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek bei Hamburg 2001, ISBN 3-498-02958-4 (German-language first edition).
  • Tony Hillerman: Badger Hunting . Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek bei Hamburg 2002, ISBN 3-499-23332-0 (German).


  1. In the first novels this form is given in the German translation as "Yaatalii" .

Individual evidence

  1. HarperCollins , New York 1999, ISBN 0-06-019289-5 .
  2. ^ Rowohlt Verlag , 2001, ISBN 3-498-02958-4 . This article is based on the German-language edition.