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Publisher's Summary

A Zuni Indian boy dies in a bizarre ritual slaying - and his best friend, a Navajo youth, is missing. Navajo police lieutenant Joe Leaphorn tracks the friend from Zuni village to Navajo hogan, from anthropological dig to hippie commune, across the desert of New Mexico and Arizona. In his search, Leaphorn discovers the ancient secrets of the Zunis and the hidden crimes of white men. Narrator Michael Ansara's experience with American Indian roles on stage and screen lends authenticity to his resonant reading of this Edgar-winning tale of murder and deception.
(P)1986 by The Audio Partners Publishing Corp.

Critic Reviews

  • Edgar Allan Poe Award Winner, Best Novel, 1974

"High entertainment...An aesthetically satisfying glimpse of the still-powerful tribal mysteries." (The New Yorker)

What listeners say about Dance Hall of the Dead

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Pace was off

The problem with an abridged book is that it lacks the depth that a good author can give in a full length treatment. That was clearly the case here. Other than that, it was a pleasant experience.
Why no other books by Hillerman at Audible.com?

60 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Great story, good narration, poor production

I love Hillerman and Michael Ansara did a good job of bringing the story to live with voice characterizations. I was disappointed by the sound quality and uneveness in production. It definitely detracted from an otherwise excellent book narrated with a memorable voice. Accordingly, I was disappointed overall and wouldn't have purchased this audiobook had I know of the issues in the recording.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

wished it was longer

Always enjoy these books - just wish they were longer.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Dancehall of the Dead

Hillerman is an easy read and has a pleasant way he approaches his characters. This is the first book I have listened to but have read 6 or 7 and they are just as good anyway you take them. I would like to see more audibles done as I don't mind listening over and over. I highly recommend him to anyone who enjoys a good wholesome story with intrigue and down to earth approaches.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Great listen

This is a wonderful mystery that is both clear and easy to listen to and keep up with. I'm a big fan of Hillerman, and hope that many more of his books will be available on Audible!

6 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Lousy abridged version

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I only buy abridged books by mistake. Made a mistake and bought this one. So it was already bad. Then this particular abridged version was terrible. Looks like they paid no attention to anything but the length and just chopped stuff out willy nilly. Shame on me for buying this lousy version of a good story. Don't you make the same mistake.

Any additional comments?

Don't even sell abridged books in the first place!

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Didn’t say abridged anywhere

Seemed so thin for a Tony hillerman but was over in 4 chapters, then realized why. It was cut down, with only key plot elements left.

Free, so can’t complain- but miss the hillerman experience. A way to dip your toe into his writing- but read a FULL novel and don’t judge the writer on this version

Reader makes female and child characters sound whiny in all their dialogue which was annoying

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Worst reading ever

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Couldn't listen to the book. Michael Ansara's reading was so hard on the ears that it made listening unbearable. His "sssssssss" is like a high-pitched whistle. The book may be excellent, but I guess I'll never know.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

HORRIBLE

Without a doubt the audio quality of this short story, sold as a book, HAS GOT TO BE THE WORST EXCUSE I HAVE EVER ENCOUNTERED!! I tried it on two different devices even with no luck. Picture the reader setting at his kitchen table with an old Radio Shack cassette recorder. I swear you could almost hear him turning the pages it’s so God awful.

It’s a shame too. I think it’s a pretty decent story but after two chapters I gave up.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Painful Narration

Not a bad book but I had to start listening three times due to the painfully monotone narration. Would be a pretty good listen if they re-did it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Josie
  • 12-19-08

I enjoyed this very much

I noticed the obituaries of Tony Hillerman in the papers earlier this year, and was intrigued by the descriptions of his work. I'd never heard of him, but I like crime books, especially ones that aren't too gruesome, and have visited the western US a few times - not Arizona, where this is set, but it's similar enough landscape to Utah and Colorado for me to be able to imagine it. Not that you'd need to have been there to enjoy it - he does a terrific job of making you feel like you're right there.

The book has an excellent plot that keeps you guessing until quite near the end, and Joe Leaphorn, the detective, is an intriguing character who manages to be compelling even though he reveals virtually nothing about himself.

The descriptions of Zuni ritual and customs are engaging and never degenerate into travelogue or local colour. I'm no expert on lit-crit so when I realised the book was essentially about the nature of taboo (and not just of the Zunis) I realised what a clever writer Hillerman is, to take a big topic like that and yet not make it over-dramatic.

As a book, it's ideal for audio listening as it's written day by day so divides into short sections which are easy to listen to without getting lost. It's been skilfully abridged and there's none of that 'whoops, there goes another carefully crafted sub-plot' feeling that you sometimes get with abridgements. The actor who reads it, Michael Ansara, is excellent, giving just the right laconic delivery for Leaphorn.

All in all, I really enjoyed it and it's a shame that none of Hillerman's other titles are available on Audible (and if they are offered, it would be nice to have a choice of some unabridged versions too).

If you like old-fashioned crime, Westerns, or books by Kinky Friedman, you will definitely enjoy this.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 02-13-09

Great but would prefer unabridged

I would very much recomend Tony Hillerman audiobooks. George Guidall narrates the unabridged versions and they are great. It's great to get books even fiction that deal with native americans as more than something out of a cowboy film or dances with wolves.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Landgirl
  • 12-24-12

Crime and order in a different world view

Tony Hillerman writes the kind of story I enjoy--sympathetic, thoughtful stories with characters that you can enjoy getting to know. I have read all his fiction and would love to see more of them on audiobooks. In addition to a good read or listen for the story itself, Tony Hillerman opens up a world few people get to see--a genuine insight into contemporary Native American cultures in the southwest of the United States.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • rosemary clarke
  • 10-27-21

If you like arther upfield's you will like this

Michael Ansara is perfect reader for this book ,he reads it to you without any up and down distractions in voice,but caricature s well defined

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-17-18

please release more of his work. !

Always enjoyable, Hillerman has the ability to make the unknown familiar with great characterization and pace for the detail and scene unfolding.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Antony Redhawk
  • 03-24-18

Great Book

I think that Tony Hillerman books are good to read and a eye fall is Navajo world