In Albuquerque's Old Town, Herbert Schuze owns a shop dealing mainly with old pots of Native American origin. He admits to being a pot thief, but that is not a true description. Prior to 1980 it was legal to dig up old pots from public lands for profit and fun but Herbert still feels the exhiliration of the find is the real reward. Carl Wilkes comes into the shop and wants Herbert to 'procur' a pot on display at the Valle del Rio Museum at the University of New Mexico and offers him $25,000 to get it. That amount would help Herbert with his back taxes he owes the IRS. So he decides to think about it and go check out the museum. Upon returning to his shop, Agent Guvelly of the Bureau of Land Management is there questioning him about a Mogollon water jug stolen in Bandelier - the 'other' water jug. Guvelly accuses Herbert of stealing it and soon the theft magnifies to murder. Stretching his reasoning skills to the limit and overcoming his nerves, Herbert sets out to clear himself.
Orenduff presents surprises from beginning to the very end and has invented an unusual plot that has humor, appealing characters and some zany ones as well as a memorable setting. Orenduff's familiarity with the Southwest in all its aspects really grasps your attention. 'The Pot Thief Who Studied Pythagoras' offers the reader a delightful story, with history, art and some philosophy. It's a very enjoyable read and quite educational.