Desert Lost: A Lena Jones Mystery

Betty Webb, Author . Poisoned Pen $24.95 (264p) ISBN 978-1-59058-681-5

Webb's sobering sixth mystery to feature PI Lena Jones further explores the abuses of polygamy first exposed in 2003's Desert Wives . Late one night, while staking out a Scottsdale, Ariz., storage yard in the hope of catching vandals, Lena hears suspicious sounds just outside the yard. She soon discovers the still warm body of a dead woman wearing a long calico dress—an obvious “sister-wife” (i.e., “a woman who shared her man with numerous other women”). With the nearest polygamist compound a five-hour drive away toward Utah, how did the victim wind up in Scottsdale? Lena, who suffered a troubled childhood as an orphan, gets on a trail that leads her to “lost boys,” surplus male teens expelled by the older men who run the polygamist cults. Clear-cut characterizations help a complicated plot flow smoothly. As Webb points out in a note, polygamy still spawns many social ills, despite the recent, well-publicized conviction of Mormon fundamentalist prophet Warren Jeffs. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 09/14/2009
Release date: 12/01/2009
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