In her latest Wind River Reservation mystery, Coel has creatively connected a present-day murder with one a century old. T.J. Painted Horse's wife, Denise, is found murdered. When museum curator Christine Nelson goes missing not long afterward and her apartment is ransacked, Father John O'Malley of the reservation's St. Francis Mission wonders if her disappearance could be linked to the museum's newly acquired exhibit.

Almost a hundred years ago, famed photographer Edward Curtis staged a raid on the Arapaho village so that he could photograph it. A woman was killed in the pretend raid and three Arapahos were accused of her murder and hanged. Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden agrees to represent T.J. when the FBI suspect him of murdering his wife. As Vicky and Father John investigate Denise's murder, they are careful to remain distant from one another, though their never-realized romance is a constant presence.

This is a smoothly written, captivating novel. Not only is the mystery first rate, but Coel's insight into the prejudices against Native Americans is highly illuminating. (Sep., 288 pp., $22.95)
Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick