Tony Hillerman (born May 27, 1925 in Sacred Heart, Oklahoma) is an award-winning contemporary American author of detective novels and non-fiction works.
His mystery novels are set in the Four Corners area of New Mexico and Arizona. The protagonists are Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee of the Navajo tribal police. Lt. Leaphorn was introduced in Hillerman's first novel, The Blessing Way (1970).
Hillerman is a decorated combat veteran from World War II, serving as a mortarman in the U.S. 104th Infantry Division. Later, he worked as a journalist from 1948-1962. Then he earned a Masters degree and taught journalism from 1966-1987 at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, where he still resides with his wife.
Hillerman's writing is noted for the details he provides about the culture of the people he writes about: Hopi, European-American, federal agents, as well as Navajo. His works in nonfiction and in fiction reflect his appreciation of the natural wonders of the American Southwest and his appreciation of its people, particularly the Navajo.