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

Wife of Moon Wife of Moon

Publishers Weekly (which gave Wife of Moon a starred review!) proclaims that "of all the writers of Native American mysteries compared to Tony Hillerman, Coel is the one who most deserves the accolade" and Hillerman himself calls her "a master." The author's latest Wind River Reservation mystery finds Father John O'Malley and Vicky Holden investigating a murder that occurred nearly a century ago and its connection to a much more recent crime.

In 1907, photographer Edward S. Curtis arrived at the Wind River Reservation, hoping to document the Arapaho way of life before it vanished altogether. To preserve the legacy of warriors in battle, Curtis staged an attack on a village, planning to capture it on film. But it became all too real when the daughter of the tribe's chief was found murdered – and her killer was never identified.

Now, Curtis, photographs are on display at the museum of St. Francis, Mission on the reservation, and history seems doomed to repeat itself. A descendant of the tribal chief who appeared in Curtis, pictures has been shot to death, and the museum's curator has disappeared. The two incidents may be linked to a near century-old murder. And Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden and Father John O'Malley will soon discover an even more disturbing connection to present-day events...

Read an excerpt

Readers Guide

Listen to Margaret read the first two chapters

Curtis photographs in the Wind River Reservation

Check out the website of Edward S. Curtis


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

Buy the ebook from Diesel eBooks!

Penguin paperback, September 2004, ISBN: 9780425198148


Winner of the Colorado Book Award!

"Bestseller Coel surpasses her own high standard in her 10th whodunit... Coel draws readers into early Arapaho life as smoothly as she brings them into the sinister goings-on at present-day Wind River, masterfully blending authentic history with an ingenious plot."
    —Publishers' Weekly (starred review)

"[Coel's] series... is now widely considered the most accomplished heir to Tony Hillerman's legacy."
    —Scripps Howard News Service

"Coel is a delightful storyteller and keeps us turning pages wanting to find out whodunit... The research and historical attributes are native to her writing... Not only do we get to participate in solving the mystery, but we also are taken on a historical journey... The characters are richly woven like a native blanket..."
    —The Denver Post

"This is a smoothly written, captivating novel. Not only is the mystery first rate, but Coel's insight into the prejudices against Native Americans is highly illuminating..."
    —Romantic Times Bookclub TOP PICK!

"With her 10th entry into the series, Wife of Moon, Coel has married the increasingly direct, evocative prose with a complicated plot and structure that goes beyond anything she's done before. The author is stretching her wings this time out, and she soars..."
    —The Daily Camera (Boulder, CO)

"Coel writes in a very easy, clean style....In WIFE OF MOON, Coel tells a good story, shares knowledge about Curtis and photography and maintains her obvious love and admiration for the Arapaho and the Wind River Reservation. The result will satisfy the author's fans." Read the full review.
    —Lane Wright, Reviewing The Evidence

"This book is not to be read unless you've managed to call for pizza delivery, sent the kids off to Grandma's and set up hubby with the remote because once you've started, you will want to continue until you've savored the last word." Read the full review.

"The evocative use of language is as compelling as ever in Coel's work. Reading her, I often have to go to my window to make sure I'm still in Pennsylvania and haven't somehow been magically transported to Wyoming. She keeps me on the edge of my chair, wondering what will happen to these two people and how she has managed to get me to invest so much in them. I'll definitely be back to find out when her next Wind River mystery appears. One for my Agatha nomination list."
    —Karl Fieldhouse, DorothyL

"Coel's characters stay with the reader after the last page. Their problems are believable, and lead them to make flawed decisions, sometimes with miserable consequences. And we care about these people. Though the reader may figure out who the "bad guys" are, the danger around O'Malley and Holden will keep the pages turning."
    —Debby Atkinson, author of Primitive Secrets

"This is my first Coel novel, and it definitely won't be my last. Infused with authenticity in both atmosphere and characterization, this delicious escapade into the plains of Wyoming is both suspenseful and original. Highly recommended, don't miss Coel's latest. It's beautifully written, highly atmospheric, and above all, an exciting and enchanting read that elegantly captures the dignity of the Arapahos and the land they grace." Read the full review.
    —Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader Magazine

"A great read!! Wife of Moon is one of those rare books you will not want to put down as you move between two time periods in the history of the Arapaho people, times that are connected by some old photographs and murder. A tale with several subplots and subtle emotions woven together to make a fascinating read by a very talented author. Wife of Moon is a book you may read more than once. Highly recommended. Enjoy." Read the full review.
    —Anne K. Edwards, Murder and Mayhem Bookclub

"Margaret Coel has penned another winner here. She skillfully blends mystery, politics, and disparate individuals with a very real look into what it means to live as an American Indian today. The tug-of-war between the modern world and ancient traditions is perfectly and naturally portrayed. As always, Vicky and Father John make for sympathetic and realistic characters. The mystery itself is involving and convoluted enough to be interesting, without losing focus. This is part of a longer series, but the only problem new readers will have here is how quickly they can locate the author's backlist." Read the full review.
    —Deborah Hern, The Romance Reader's Connection

"Having read and enjoyed the first in the series, THE EAGLE CATCHER, I was concerned that all the books in between might be spoiled for me by skipping ahead. BUT, no worries! I was quickly intrigued by the provocative interweaving of the past (1907 as well as subtle mentions of past character/plot/book events) and the actual present. The sense of place (past and present) is strong; the characters are likable, good people but not without flaws. I had a hard time putting it down, wanting to know what happened next. I'll definitely be looking for the early books."
    —Pat Tracy, DorothyL Mystery ListServ

"Coel continues to create interesting, complicated characters. Father John has always struggled to ignore his attraction to Vicky. Now he is even questioning his dedication to the reservation. Is he really doing the best he can? Vicky too has forced herself to stay away from the priest, whom she really loves. Maybe she can form a partnership with the handsome Adam Lone Eagle.... Good plot, memorable characters, and a well-researched sympathetic background make this a very good read. Coel is a worthy peer to Tony Hillerman. "
    —Bev DeWeese, Deadly Pleasures

"Often in books where the action goes back and forth between modern day and the past, the switching between eras bogs the book down. I'm happy to say this wasn't the case in Wife of Moon. The chapters for both time periods were engrossing and left me in a hurry to read and turn the page to see what happened next.... There are murders in both time periods in the book and every time I thought I'd figured out the culprit or culprits, I was surprised by yet another twist in the stories..."
    —Kay Martinez, DorothyL Mystery ListServ

"...I was left wanting to know more about how the chafing conflicts between Father O'Malley and his assistant will be resolved, and the depth of Vicky's feelings for Adam--and his for her. But a little wanting is good; that's what makes us eager for the next book in the series..."
    —Carolyn Rose, author of Consulted to Death

"Margaret Coel tells a good story. She deals with the complexities of modern day reservation life with respect. Fans of this long running series will be pleased with this new installment of the lives of Fr. John O'Malley and lawyer Vicky Holden. But newcomers could just as easily start with this book, and have a rewarding and pleasurable read."
    —Debbie Bogenschutz, DorothyL Mystery ListServ

"The photographer was real, and Coel's masterful incorporation of historical reality into her fictional story adds to a compelling and entertaining tale. She also makes clear, without overkill, the injustices and intolerance that First Nations people have faced and still face. Wife of Moon is well worth the read." Read the full review.
    —Theresa Ichino, Bookloons

"Wife of Moon is an exciting who-done-it that will appeal to fans of Tony Hillerman and David and Aimee Thurlo thrillers. Margaret Coel provides a deep look at the Arapaho culture wrapped around a fabulous mystery."
    —Harriet Klausner

"Margaret Coel is considered an expert on the Arapaho Indians. Her expertise really shines through in this story. She has created an intricate plot and keeps it fast paced. The story will keep you guessing throughout the book. It is always enjoyable to read a novel with characters Vicky Holden and Father John O'Malley. This book is highly recommended." Read the full review.
    —Nancy Eaton, Mysteries Galore

"There's never been any question in my mind that Margaret Coel writes very well. This series, featuring Father John O'Malley and attorney Vicky Holden, teaches about the Arapaho in a very skilful and excellent way; you never feel like you're being lectured at, you just end up knowing things..."
    —Andi Shechter, Reviewing the Evidence