Category Archives: New Mexico

Wednesday Flashback – Santa Fe early 1960’s

Santa Fe - early 1960's

I’ve been a bad blogger lately and I’m sorry. I’ve been traveling. I used to prepare posts in advance for that but I don’t generally any longer. I like the interchange and conversations with other bloggers and it is hard to do when I am on the road or visiting somebody. Plus it is nice to get away a little bit and refresh and get more ideas and photographs and stuff.

The family went up to Idaho for a family reunion and to visit my Dad and we had a great time and I’ll be posting about the trip in the coming days. 

I took my fancy schamancy all purpose scanner with me and scanned several hundred of Dad’s slides from the 1950’s and 60’s while I was there. The above photo is one of them. The little girl is my sister Ellen (Check out her blog News from the “Pole” Yard), then me to the left, and brother Bob to the right. It is on the square in Santa Fe and I’m guessing that it is 1962 or 1963. Santa Fe back then was a tourist town sure but real people lived there back then and they did their shopping downtown in amongst the tourist shops. 

Note the 29 cent hamburgers, and the guys walking down the street with their cowboy hats on. Also note the rolled up cuffs on the jeans Bob and I are wearing. Anyway, there has not been a dime store on the square in Santa Fe for decades and I’m sure that it is some sort of expensive art gallery now. Hamburgers are probably a bit more than 29 cents also.

The Pot Thief Who Studied Billy The Kid by J. Michael Orenduff

The Pot Thief who Studied Billy the Kid is J. Michael Orenduff’s sixth book in his Pot Thief series starring Hubert Schuze a pottery store owner in Albuquerque’s Old Town. Hubert, or Hubie to his friends buys and sells native American pots for his business. He also supplements his inventory by digging pots up from various sites that he knows about in the wilds of New Mexico. The Federal Government doesn’t really approve of this method of inventory supplementation but that is okay with Hubie because he doesn’t really approve of everything the Federal Government does either. He also makes copies of pots for sale in his store. He is very good at making the copies look old. He never lies to a customer, he doesn’t really volunteer much of anything either.


(Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa)

Hubie often ends up in the middle of mysteries. In this book he finds himself digging for pots in a remote cliff dwelling. Instead of a pot he finds a human hand. A hand with a hole in it. That is kind of a revolting development for sure but things get worse when he finds out that somebody has driven off his vehicle and he has to walk a long ways back to civilization. So, its like, who is the dead person, who stranded Hubie out int he middle of nowhere and why?


(Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa)

So Hubie immediately starts attacking the problem at happy hour drinking margaritas at a local watering hole with Susannah Inchaustigui a basque perpetual student at the University of New Mexico. He always discusses his situations with her at happy hour. If you love happy hours, you’ll love this book just for their repartee. After discussing the situation Hubie and Susannah have quite the adventure solving the mystery.


(Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa)

Hubie and Susannah check out quite a bit of New Mexican remote areas and talk to Curanderas and other rural characters and of course they finally solve the mystery and get their man.

If you love New Mexico and the southwest and a good mystery you’ll love this book. I’ve read the whole series and am quite the fan. I give it four stars out of five.

The Pot Thief Who Studied D.H. Lawrence by J. Michael Orenduff

One of my guilty pleasures is reading J. Michael Orenduff’s “Pot Thief” Series of books. It is a about a pot seller (like in ancient southwestern Indian pots, not marijuana) named Hubert Schuze who owns has his shop, and adjoining residence in the Old Town section of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Hubert gets most of stock from two sources, he digs the pots up in total violation of Federal Law, and he makes very good copies of existing pots. He is not greedy but he has lots of expenses. He is helping his nephew get through college and he is helping an elderly couple with their steep medical expenses. Still, when he has enough, he is liable to close the shop and take a nap.


(photo by Yogi, Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ, Hopi-Tewa jar)

In this latest adventure, Hubert is induced to give a lecture on old Anasazi pots at the University of New Mexico’s D.H. Lawrence Ranch. He has a second agenda. Somebody has offered him a three for one trade if he can find an old Taos Pueblo pot that somebody wants.

(photo by Yogi, Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ, Work by Dorothy Torivio of Acoma Pueblo)

Hubert goes to the ranch, and a bad snowstorm hits. There is no way in or out, the telephone lines are down and there are zero bars on the cell phones. There are about ten guests and some staff people, and guess what. Somebody starts killing the guests!

(Another photo by me from the Heard Museum in Phoenix, a Hopi Tewa jar by Helen Naha)

So we have a classic murder mystery but this one is self conscious. The characters talk about the classic murder mysteries and so the story is kind of inside out.

All I can say is that Mr. Orenduff is a great writer, the books are readable and interesting and full of southwestern culture. I give the book four stars out of five. Which is great.

You can get the book from Mr. Orenduff himself. He’ll mail it postage free and autograph it, or you can order it off Amazon. You can get them very reasonably priced for the Kindle.

He is working on “The Pot Thief who studied Lew Wallace.” I can’t hardly wait.

My reviews of Mr. Orenduff’s other books (totally out of order!!):

The Pot Thief who Studied Pythagoras

The Pot Thief who Studied Escoffier

The Pot Thief who Studied Ptolemy

The Pot Thief who Studied Einstein

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The Pot Thief who Studied Einstein by J. Michael Orenduff

I just got through reading “The Pot Thief who Studied Einstein” by J. Michael Orenduff. It is a murder mystery set in Albuquerque, New Mexico featuring Herbert Schuze who owns a shop in Old Town where he sells  Anasazi pots. He also makes copies of such pots. Schuze is a treasure hunter who got in trouble as a younger man for digging up pots on public lands and expelled from the University of New Mexico. He still digs, he just doesn’t talk about it that much.

This Pot Thief book, like the others, moves pretty quickly. Schuze is asked to make copies of three pots by a mysterious stranger. Later Schuze is asked to appraise a large collection of pots and finds that the same copies are in the collection. This of course makes him start questioning what is going on. Then somebody connected to all this turns up dead, and Schuze is the leading suspect.

This book won an “Eppie” at the “Left Coast Crime Convention” earlier this year, a national award for the “Best Humorous Mystery Novel.” The book is very entertaining, Schuze has an ironic of life and a wide variety of friends and acquaintances, from Susannah Inchaustigui, his margarita drinking companion, to Detective Whit Fletcher who also has flexible ethics.

If you love New Mexico you’ll love this book. Schuze cooks authentic New Mexican dishes (Tex/Mex will never seem the same after you have had New Mexican cuisine)  and his characters ring true.

This is one of four “Pot Thief” books. I have read the other three: “The Pot Thief who Studied Pythagoras, “The Pot Thief who Studied Ptolemy“, and “The Pot Thief who Studied Escoffier.” According to the Pot Thief Series web site, Orenduff is working on “The Pot Thief who Studied D.H. Lawrence.”

I give “The Pot Thief who Studied Einstein” four stars out of five. It can hold its own against any of the best selling murder mystery novels I’ve read.