Seattle crime writer Ann Rule has been polling visitors to her web site whether she should follow up one of her most successful books, about Oregon child-killer Diane Downs, with a book about the child Downs gave birth to after her murder conviction. Part of the story of the now-grown daughter Becky Babcock, 25, was recently told on ABC's 20/20, and in a companion article in Glamour magazine.
As befits Rule's story telling, events took an odd turn after the co-author of the Glamour piece, Lisa Grace Lednicer, a reporter for 12 years at The Oregonian, was fired by her newspaper last week for not clearing the magazine piece with her Portland editors. They apparently thought the daughter's tale should have been run first in the paper. Still, firing seemed an overreaction and, for that matter, Glamour is part of the Newhouse publishing empire that owns the Oregonian.
All of which is more fodder for Rule, 74, one of the country's most popular crime writers who is back at her computer after recovering from an illness and moving to a new house.
She is winding up Still of the Night, a book about Washington State Trooper Ronda Reynolds, whose death was ruled a suicide by the Lewis County coroner - a ruling he was ordered to change more than a decade later after a court said it could be a murder.
Then Rule apparently will indeed do Babcock's story. "Most of you," Rule says on her blog, "who have read Small Sacrifices [the book and later movie about Downs, now 54, shooting her three children, killing one, so she could have more time with her lover] know the whole story up to 2010, and Becky and I are hoping to write a book updating the story and telling about her life."
BTW, she adds, "I thought I looked kind of puny in the [20/20] show, but I'm still recovering. My hair turned white when I was sick and I kind of like it - but may go back to light auburn, my natural color. When I look in the mirror, the white shocks me! My agents called telling me to put on weight. About the first time in my life anyone told me that!"