Tony Hillerman was one of my favorite fiction writers. His description of the landscape of the US Southwest and of Navajo society and culture really grabbed me, and the stories were not bad either, but i had never been interested in his other work, fiction or nonfiction. Tony Hillerman was a soldier, a journalist, and a graduate student before he was a novelest. The Great Taos Bank Robbery and Other Indian Country Affairs was published in 1973 (his third, fourth, or fifth book) but the stories/essays in it were written in 1965 as a graduate student and their reportorial style betrays his former career. He is humble, almost apologetic, about this work,saying that his writing skills had improved since he wrote these stories.
Please give yourself the pleasure of reading the fifteen page story that begins this book. This is the true story of a "robbery attempt" that took place in Taos, New Mexico on November 12, 1957. I could not stop laughing aloud as i read this description of "nonfelonious unrobbery." I want to go to Taos, maybe even live there! Imagine a 2000 member 12-Step group that is always in session. It seems that nothing is strange here. (Or is everything strange?) Levels of tolerance and acceptance, attitudes of "live and let live" must be incrediblh high, or were in 1957 (and 1973).