Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Misogyny & Murder: Betty Webb’s Polygamy Mysteries

 Misogyny & Murder: Betty Webb’s Polygamy Mysteries

by Ben Boulden 

Mystery writer and journalist Betty Webb made a literary splash when her second Lena Jones detective novel, Desert Wives, was published by Poisoned Pen Press in 2002. The likable Lena – an orphan and socially-conscious private eye working the upscale Phoenix, Arizona suburb of Scottsdale – finds more than murder while undercover in the fictional polygamist town of Purity on the Utah-Arizona border. This swath of arid desert is called the Arizona Strip and home to more sheep than people, and more religious sects practicing polygyny – a form of polygamy where one man marries multiple women – than anywhere else in the United States. Including the infamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS), headquartered in Colorado City, Arizona, and its outlaw “prophet” Warren Jeffs. Publishers Weekly called Desert Wives, “a searing exposé of the abuses of contemporary polygamy,” and then added, “[it] could do for polygamy what [Stowe’s] Uncle Tom’s Cabin did for slavery.”
      Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times’ well-respected mystery critic, wrote:

“If Betty Webb had gone undercover and written Desert Wives as a piece of investigative journalism, she’d probably be up for a Pulitzer.”

[For the rest of the article click here to go to Dark City Underground...]