First there was the trouble at Saint Boneventure boarding school. A teacher is dead, a boy is missing, and a councilwoman has put a lot of pressure on Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn and Officer Jim Chee to find her grandson. Sitting on a rooftop watching sacred clowns perform their antics in a Pueblo ceremony, Chee spots the boy. Then, suddenly, the crowd is in commotion. One of the clowns has been savagely murdered.
Without a single clue, Chee and Leaphorn must follow a serpentine trail through the Indian clans and nations, seeking the thread that links two brutal murders, a missing teenager, a band of lobbyists trying to put a toxic dump site on Pueblo land, and an invaluable memento given to the tribes by Abraham Lincoln in a fast-paced, flawless mystery that is Hillerman at his lyrical, evocative, spellbinding best.