Tony Hillerman was born in Sacred Heart, Oklahoma on May 27, 1925. He attended Oklahoma A & M College and the University of Oklahoma. During World War II, he enlisted in the Army and was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart after being severely injured during a raid behind German lines. As a journalist, he has worked for newspapers in Oklahoma and for UPI. He has been a political reporter in Santa Fe, a professor of journalism and chair of the journalism department at the University of New Mexico, and assistant to the president of that university. The American Southwest and its landscape and peoples, particularly the Navajo, are the focus for many of his mysteries. He hopes that people learn more about Native Americans and their cultures by reading his books, and he draws upon their many traditions and stories for his novels. As people read his work, they are learning about another culture and history as well as enjoying a finely crafted mystery. His two detectives---Officer Jim Chee and Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn---first came together in Skinwalkers (1987). He received numerous awards during his lifetime including the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Mystery Novel for Dance Hall of the Dead in 1974, the Mystery Writers of Americas Grand Master Award in 1991, the Western Writers of Americas Golden Spur Award for Skinwalkers in 1987, and the Navajo tribes Special Friend Award. His best-selling novels include The First Eagle, The Fallen Man, and Finding Moon. He died from pulmonary failure on October 26, 2008 at the age of 83.