The Pot Thief Who Studied Pythagoras – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘The two best things about being a shopkeeper are that your income isn’t limited to some corporation’s idea of what a salary should be, and you get to set your own hours. The two worse things are that you don’t have a salary to depend on ever month, and… well, it doesn’t really matter what the other worst thing is if there’s no money coming in.’
Hubert Schuze owns a Native American pottery shop in Albuquerque’s Old Town. Hubert’s close friends and his not so close friends call him a ‘pot thief.’ In 1980 Congress passed the Archaeological Resources Protection Act which prohibits the removal of buried pots on public lands, thus putting a supposed halt to Hubert’s treasurer hunting and a crimp on his income.
When Carl Wilkes of New World Antiquities walked into Hubert’s store, he came with an offer that was hard to turn down. He wanted Hubert to “acquire” one of only two intact Mogollon water jugs ever reported found. This particular jug Wilkes wanted Hubert to acquire was on display at the Valle Del Rio Museum at the University of New Mexico. And when Wilkes offers $25,000 for the acquisition, Hubert decides to give it some thought. That is until he’s visit by Agent Guvelly from the Bureau of Land Management. Guvelly proceeds to accuse Hubert of taking not the jug that is in the University museum but the other jug that was on display in Bandelier.
I’ve never been to Albuquerque, much less it’s Old Town, but through my reading of The Pot Thief I feel that I’ve just gotten back. The history of the area’s Native Americans, the pottery and Pythagoras himself, made this a very educational book. The story it’s self is filled with murder and tension, but it also has humor which makes it a light hearted book to read. And the conversations carried on by Hubert and his best friend Susannah, as they discuss how to solve the mysteries of who stole the jug from Bandelier, who murdered the man in room 1119 and who placed a dead man in Hubert’s store, are such “practical” conversations that you can’t help but laugh.
The Pot Thief was an extremely entertaining book and I highly recommend that you read it for yourself. And the ending…. I can only call it “creative, poetic justice.”