Encyclopedia Article


One of the most significant words in the Joe Leaphorn/Tony Hillerman lexicon.

The term refers to apparently random, often serendipitous, set of occurrences that are seemingly unrelated but that are aligned in a mix of happy accident and/or corresponding incidents. Sometimes coincidence is likened to "fate" or "fortune," events that come into being through forces that are beyond human control.

Joe Leaphorn, a savvy, experienced, and pragmatic lieutenant, does not believe in coincidence. Things happen for a reason, or come into alignment for a reason, and it's up to the perceptive investigator to recognize covert machinations that seem belied by overt, if allegedly random, connections.

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