Desert Wives Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Desert Wives

Poisoned Pen, Jan 2003, 24.95, 302 pp.
ISBN 1590580303

Outside of the region, it's not a well-known fact that along the Arizona-Utah border, there are various polygamous communities flourishing and the authorities turn a blind eye because their family trees also contain many polygamous members. Private detective Lena Jones, based in Scottsdale, is hired by thirteen year old Rebecca's mother to get her out of the polygamy compound of Purity. The girl's non-custodial parent kidnapped her with the intention of marrying her off to the Prophet Solomon Royal in exchange for receiving two sixteen-year old wives.
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Lena is able to get Rebecca out safely but not before they both see that Solomon was murdered by a gunshot. A few days later Rebecca's mother is arrested for the crime because she can be placed near the scene just before the murder, yelling at the Prophet. Lena, with the help of an inside sympathizer, infiltrates the compound to discover who the real murderer is, a difficult job because many people had various reasons to want Solomon dead.

After reading DESERT WIVES, reader will come away horrified that women in the twenty-first century in America can be treated like cattle and have no recourse but to endure their suffering. Betty Webb tells a compelling story and raises a social issue that most people don't even realize exists. This is one book that the audience will be unable to forget due to its subject matter.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of Desert Wives

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 60%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   depressing/sad How difficult to spot villain?    -   Very difficult--no foreshadowing/clues Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   70% Misc. Murder Plotlets    -   Proving innocence of very obvious suspect Kind of investigator    -   hard boiled/private eye Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   minority/women/gay rights Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   private investigator Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   West

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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