The sheriff of Prophesy County, Okla., tackles a murder case involving several wives, all married to the same man.
Since polygamy, as you may have heard, is against the law, it’s no surprise that multiply-married members of the New Saints Tabernacle have tried to maintain a low profile. But all that changes when Mary Hudson, the oldest of engineer Jerry Hudson’s three wives, is bludgeoned to death. Sheriff Milt Kovak arrives at the gated community to find Mary’s corpse and a group of oddly dressed children standing outside in fear. The sheriff is less interested in arresting Hudson for polygamy than in determining who wanted the perfectly organized wife and mother dead. Naturally, he looks first at the husband and two other wives. Together with his own wife Jean, a psychiatrist and police consultant who’s called in to interview the wives and children, Milt discovers that all is not peaceful in the polygamous community. The Hudsons’ plural family in particular has been strained by jealousy and backbiting among the wives and their extended families. Of course, there are also the religious bigots who may have thought the family evil enough to merit murder. The Kovaks must sift through the evidence and explore the complex family relationships before they can solve the crime.
This latest case for Milt (Rude Awakening, 2009, etc.) artfully combines a twisted mystery with a look at polygamy from a feminist point of view.