Not only were his mysteries intriguing, but they were also enlightening. They told about a part of the world I seldom thought about (the 4-corners region of the Southwest) and about people I thought I knew about (Native Americans). Through his writing, he brought another world alive. As he said:
“It’s always troubled me that the American people are so ignorant of these rich Indian cultures,” Mr. Hillerman once told Publishers Weekly. “I think it’s important to show that aspects of ancient Indian ways are still very much alive and are highly germane even to our ways.”I remember watching one of his books brought to live on PBS ("Mystery Theater" or some such show). I was struck by how little dialog there was, but how rich the characterizations were. When I started to write, I went back and looked at his writing (and some of my other favorites) to figure out how he did it.
More than anything, though, he was a storyteller, and heavens, we need storytellers in the world today, don't we?