The University of Arizona

Professor Tom Holm Publishes First Novel

By Johnny Cruz, April 22, 2008

Prominent Native American scholar Tom Holm, who is also a professor of American Indian Studies at The University of Arizona, joins the ranks of acclaimed historical mystery writers Tony Hillerman and Margaret Coel with his debut novel – titled “The Osage Rose.”

Corrupt lawmen, insatiable businessmen and an oil boom on Indian land. This is the milieu in which Holm sets his gritty and provocative detective novel.“The Osage Rose,” is published by the UA Press.

Life is looking easy for J.D. Daugherty, a crusty ex-police officer who has set up his own private investigator firm in Tulsa, Okla., just after World War I.

J.D. expects to make a straightforward living off the intrigues of the city’s wealthy socialites, but then Rose Chischester, a privileged young white woman, runs off with Tommy Ruffle, a young Indian who is heir to Osage oil.

Hired by Rose’s father to track down the young pair, J.D. and his associate, a Cherokee named Hoolie Smith, find themselves caught in the crossfire of a deadly scheme.

When Tommy turns up murdered and with Rose still missing, J.D. and Hoolie must navigate a twisting maze of deception, race riots and gun battles in their unrelenting search for the truth – a search that ultimately leads to an intimate secret no one suspected.

Tom Holm writes a true private-eye mystery, yet he entwines the story’s layers of conspiracy and deceit with the realities of prejudice and hatred that existed during the early years of Oklahoma statehood.

”'The Osage Rose' is a superb novel,” said Alan Velie, editor of “American Indian Literature: An Anthology.” “Holm does for the Cherokee what Hillerman does for the Navajo.”

Rooted firmly in its time, Holm’s well-researched novel tells a complex and compelling story of individuals struggling to find justice at any cost in a world still caught between modernity and its Wild West legacy. Holm is the author of “The Great Confusion in Indian Affairs: Native Americans and Whites in the Progressive Era.”

Contacts

Holly Dolan, UA Press

520-621-3920

hdolan@uapress.arizona.edu