RARA-AVIS: Anne Wingate, Mississippi

From: Joy Matkowski ( jmatkowski1@comcast.net)
Date: 04 Sep 2002

I started what must have been among Wingate's earliest Deb Ralston books because I'm pretty sure she didn't have a husband or children. I thought the police work was described well (although how would I know, having been only on the receiving end), and the writing was OK, if a bit bland, but I threw it across the room without finishing it. The protagonist was portraying herself as a feminist IIRC, and, without skipping a beat, an anti-abortion diatribe followed. These two views are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but the author seemed unaware of the need to make me the reader find the combination credible. I wondered then if the ambiguously named Lee Martin was male or female.
    I plan to get one of the books written by the Mississippi State Police commissioner, Jim. The premise you described sounds interesting. (Anyone else spend more on books than on food?) I had been sniffing superciliously about Mississippi, of all places, etc., but had to return to reality. Our local newspaper reminded me this morning that whichever way Pennsylvania's gubernatorial election goes in November, we'll have our highest ranking state elected official ever, because both lieutenant governor candidates are female. Pitiful. (The Republican female state treasurer who was muscled out of running for governor by "the back room boys" today endorsed the Democratic candidate, prompting shock and hysteria and front-page stories.)

Joy, who thinks we should award Jim an honorary degree of some sort for all this research and analysis JIM DOHERTY < jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com> described:
> Anne Wingate spent a number of years as a police
> officer in Plano, Texas. . . .
> Under her most-used pen name, Lee Martin, she writes
> about Detective Deb Ralston of Ft. Worth PD's Major
> Crimes Squad. A mother and grandmother rasing a large
> group of adopted kids with her husband, Deb, during
> the course of the series, converts to the Mormon faith
> and becomes pregnant for the first time in her life,
> just as she's raised most of her adopted brood to
> adulthood. I suspect that Deb Ralston is as close as
> Ms. Wingate comes to a fictional self-portrait.
> For all that she apparently regards Ms. Linnington as
> a guide, Ms. Wingate more than betters her in the
> matter of getting the police procedure right, which
> is, after all, what the police procedural is all
> about. I generally find her books enjoyable, if
> sometimes hastily written (in one book, her
> protagonist gets into a furious shootout early in the
> novel, then later, at the climax, finds herself in
> another tense gun battle during which she remarks that
> it's the first time she's ever fired a shot in the
> line of duty, completely forgetting the early
> occassion only a hundred pages earlier).

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