Seldom Disappointed (Paperback)

By Tony Hillerman

Harper, 9780066213996

Publication Date: October 2, 2001

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (10/1/2002)
Hardcover (10/2/2001)

List Price: 26.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


When Tony Hillerman looks back at seventy-six years spent getting from hard-times farm boy to bestselling author, he sees lots of evidence that Providence was poking him along. For example, when an absentminded Army clerk left him off the hospital ship taking the wounded home from France in World War II, the mishap put him on a collision course with a curing ceremony held for two Navajo Marines, thereby providing the grist for a writing career that now sees his books published in twenty-four languages around the world. In this wry and whimsical memoir, Hillerman offers frequent backward glances at where he found ideas for the plots of his books and the characters who inhabit them. For example, there's the way flushing a solitary heron from a sandbar caused him to convert Joe Leaphorn from husband to widower. No child abuse stories here: The worst Hillerman can recall is being sent off to first grade (in a boarding school for Indian girls) clad in cute blue coveralls instead of the manly overalls his farm-boy peers all wore. We get a good-natured trip through hard times in college, a colorful infantry career, and, afterward, work as truck driver, chain dragger, journalist, professor, and "doer of undignified deeds" for two university presidents. All this is colored by his love affair (now in its fifty-fourth year) with Marie, which involved raising six children, most of them adopted.

About the Author

Tony Hillerman (1925–2008), an Albuquerque, New Mexico, resident since 1963, was the author of 29 books, including the popular 18-book mystery series featuring Navajo police officers Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, two non-series novels, two children’s books, and nonfiction works. He had received every major honor for mystery fiction; awards ranging from the Navajo Tribal Council's commendation to France 's esteemed Grand prix de litterature policiere. Western Writers of America honored him with the Wister Award for Lifetime achievement in 2008. He served as president of the prestigious Mystery Writers of America, and was honored with that group’s Edgar Award and as one of mystery fiction’s Grand Masters. In 2001, his memoir, Seldom Disappointed, won both the Anthony and Agatha Awards for best nonfiction.

Praise For Seldom Disappointed

“A warmly old-fashioned reminiscence from the dean of the American regional mystery.”
— Kirkus Reviews

“Hillerman reveals the real author...a great yarn.”
— Denver Post, Glenn Griffin

“[Tony Hillerman] commits his own world--and his optimist’s attitude--to the page.”
— NY Daily News

“A splendid and disarming remembrance of things past.”
— The New York Times Book Review

“Man of mysteries seldom disappoints.”
— Chicago Tribune

“Seldom Disappointed is no amazing reporter’s eye at work.”
— Fort Worth Star-Telegram, John Sandford