Poisoned Pen, Dec 1 2009, $24.95
In Scottsdale, Arizona private investigator Lena Jones works a night shift surveillance of a storage yard in order to catch vandals. She hears some odd noises outside of the facility so she goes to investigate. Lena finds the warm corpse of a woman wearing a calico dress that symbolizes she must be a “sister-wife” married to a polygamist.
Lena who dealt with the issue in the past (see Desert Wives) wonders why kill and dump the body here as the nearest known polygamist encampment is several hours to the north on the Utah line. Lena is unable to resist an inquiry as she has her own troubled past to urge her to investigate. She soon meets up with the Desert Los male teens kicked out of the various polygamist cults by the male elders who have no room for the young men. Lena keeps up her search for who and why in complex convoluted cult compounds.
This is a strong profound desert mystery that provides a deep look at the underbelly of polygamist incestuous lifestyles as the forgotten exiled are angry and bewildered lost boys who have not found a place in the greater society yet have not other place to go. The whodunit is well written enhanced by two personal subplots, but mostly serves as a vehicle as the author warns society of the lost boys dumped when they turn fourteen as surplus because “if a man can have ten wives, nine men will have no wives.”