margaret coel
about margaret


        Winter's Child
        Man Who Fell from Sky
        Night of the White Buffalo
        Killing Custer
        Buffalo Bill's Dead Now
        The Perfect Suspect
        The Spider's Web
        Silent Spirit
        Blood Memory
        Girl w/ Braided Hair
        Drowning Man
        Eye of the Wolf
        Wife of Moon
        Killing Raven
        Shadow Dancer
        Thunder Keeper
        Spirit Woman
        Lost Bird
        Story Teller
        Dream Stalker
        Ghost Walker
        Eagle Catcher
readers guides

short stories

wind river




Winter's Child

FaceBook Email

The Lost Bird The Lost Bird

In the fifth adventure involving Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden and her friend and confidant Father John O'Malley, mysteries of the past bring shocking events into the present—with far-reaching consequences for the future of the Arapahos.

There aren't many priests vying for an assignment on a reservation in the middle of Wyoming, so when a frail Father Joseph Keenan returns to the St. Francis Mission after a thirty-five-year absence, Father John O'Malley can hardly refuse his help. But when Keenan is murdered, the community is shocked. What reason would anyone have to kill an elderly, ailing priest? Unless the reason dates back to 1964, the year Father Keenan abruptly left his post—and the year dozens of Arapaho parents were told their newborns had died from contaminated water.

That same year, Hollywood star Sharon David was born and adopted into a white family. When the celebrity shows up in Vicky Holden's office with clues suggesting she was born in the area, it's clear that the glamorous actress is a lost bird—and there may be a flock behind her. As Vicky searches for the woman's origins, Father John discovers that Keenan was a priest with a crushing secret. Soon, both paths lead to a cover-up that may forever change the face of the Arapaho tribe. But they must find proof before more lives are lost—or the age-old seal of the confessional may keep the truth forever hidden...

Read an excerpt

Readers Guide


Order online from an independent bookstore via IndieBound, Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Berkley paperback, August 2000, ISBN: 978-0425170304


"A truly touching story...The whole book is infused with the spirit of Arapaho community."
Sarah Smith, author of The Knowledge of Water

"Coel's latest is among the best mysteries of the year. Coel has a rare gift for portraying engaging, realistic characters, devising a difficult puzzle, and pacing everything at a brisk, nail-biting canter. She writes vividly about western landscapes and Native American customs, and best of all, she gives her characters—representing different worldviews—plenty of room to play off one another as they stumble toward the truth. Coel is clearly at the top of her game."
Booklist starred review

"The Lost Bird is an engrossing mystery and a great read."
The Literary Times

"Coel's stories are carefully crafted, her characters likable and believable, and her books a delight to read. Deft use of description (sounds, smells, the quality of light) puts the reader right into each scene. Each of Coel's books provides a bit more insight into the Arapaho people and culture—which just gives us another reason to follow the series."
Colorado Springs Gazette

"Margaret Coel joins the top echelon of writers who weave Native American culture into cleverly designed mysteries. The Lost Bird is a fascinating and complex tale centering on loss, hope, and second chances." Read the full review.

"This book was superb. I couldn't put it down." Read the full review.

"Margaret Coel’s The Lost Bird stands on its own merit as both a mystery and a novel featuring realistic Arapaho characters." Read the full review.

"Margeret Coel captures Arapaho ways of thought and family values, weaving a complex story of intrigue, duty and love. A beautiful work!"