Milt Kovacs has been one of my favorite fictional characters ever since I read Man In The Green Chevy many years ago. But unlike all those TV-train-wreck-reality-show watchers who seem to be, I'm not at all interested in polygamy. So I was rather disappointed when I realized that "Husband and Wives" has Milt dealing with a bunch of "plural families" who've settled down in his area. I really expected I'd be skimming through this one.
But I read all of it. In fact, I found it hard to put down until I'd turned the last page. My attention was so grabbed by the story that it wasn't until later that I even stopped to savor the odd grammatical flavor of the phrase "plural family," which is how these folks describe themselves in the book.
Rogers somehow manages not to treat the polygamists as one-dimensional freaks. As Milt journeys around the area interviewing folks who knew the murdered woman - the first-of-three wives of an engineer - he encounters a range of behavior among the "plural families." The variety includes: kindness and common sense; stern patriarchal ignorant control; outrageous abuse; old-fashioned strict gender models; borderline social assimilation; and dumpy ugly clothing that sets kids apart.
Good plotting, although perhaps more time than I cared to spend reading about Milt's slow-witted young deputy. However, I enjoyed the department's new receptionist/dispatcher. Holly's young, energetic, and appears to have more brains than about half the department combined. Way to go!