The First Eagle (1998)
The First Eagle is Tony Hillerman's thirteenth Navajo Mystery Novel. This novel features Acting Lieutenant Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police and a retired "Legendary Lieutenant" Joe Leaphorn. This novel highlights the tension that exists between Hopi and Navajo, when a Hopi eagle poacher is found on Navajo land standing over the body of a dead Navajo.
The very plague that decimated Europe in the fourteenth century lurks today in the high, dry land of the American Southwest. But Navajo Tribal policemen Jim Chee and his mentor, Joe Leaphorn, discover an even deadlier killer stalking the reservation.
When Acting Lieutenant Chee catches a Hopi eagle poacher literally red-handed-huddled over the bloody body of a young Navajo Tribal Police officer -he has an open-and-shut case. Even the Feds-usually at odd with Chee- agree, and it seems the Hopi is headed for the gas chamber. Until Joe Leaphorn shows up to blow Chee's case wide open.
Leaphorn, now retired from the Navajo Tribal Police, has been hired to find Cathy Pollard, a hot-headed biologist who disappeared from the same remote area on the same day the Navajo cop was murdered. Is she a suspect? A victim? And what are Chee and Leaphorn to make of the report that a skinwalker- a Navajo witch-was seen in the same area at the same time.
To answer these questions, Leaphorn and Chee must immerse themselves in the enigmatic web of scientists hunting the key to the virulent form of bubonic plague since the Middle Ages.