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Her Deadly Web: The True Story of a Former Nurse and the Strange and Suspicious Deaths of Her Two Husbands (St. Martin's True Crime Library) Kindle Edition

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Length: 270 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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From the Back Cover


Raynella Dossett Leath said she came home one morning in 2003 and found her husband’s body in bed—covered in blood, a Colt .38 by his side. But authorities were suspicious of Raynella’s story. Why would her husband of ten years suddenly commit suicide? And if he had taken his own life, why did it appear that three shots were fired?


David Leath was not the first of Raynella’s husbands to turn up dead. After digging into Raynella’s past, police unearthed bizarre, gruesome details surrounding the death of her first husband, who was seemingly trampled by his own cattle. Which led investigators to wonder: Could Raynella have staged his death, too?


To those who knew her, Raynella was a loving mother of two, a good neighbor and friend, a nurse who always reached out a helping hand. Was this woman capable of killing both her husbands? And if so: Why did she do it—out of greed, jealousy, revenge? This is the story about what dark secrets were lurking inside HER DEADLY WEB.

Includes 8 pages of dramatic photos

About the Author

DIANE FANNING is the author of the Edgar Award finalist Written in Blood: A True Story of Murder and a Deadly 16-Year-Old Secret That Tore a Family Apart, as well as nine other true-crime books (available from St. Martin’s) and the Lieutenant Lucinda Pierce mystery series. She lives in New Braunfels, Texas. Visit her Web site at

Product Details

  • File Size: 1382 KB
  • Print Length: 270 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's True Crime (January 3, 2012)
  • Publication Date: January 3, 2012
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,304 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I am the author of eleven true crime books published by St. Martin's Press including the Edgar Award nominated WRITTEN IN BLOOD and the best-selling MOMMY'S LITTLE GIRL. For the work I began with THROUGH THE WINDOW, I received the "Defender of Innocence" award from the Downstate Illinois Innocence Project. My latest true crime is HER DEADLY WEB. Additionally, I have written six mystery novels including five in the Lucinda Pierce series from Severn House. The latest is FALSE FRONT.

I have been featured on 48 Hours, 20/20, The Today Show, Biography, Forensic Files, Deadly Women,Behind Mansion Walls, Deadly Sins, On the Case with Paula Zahn, Justice with Judge Jeanine, MSNBC News, Court TV, Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell, the Discovery Channel and local TV channels and have been interviewed on dozens of radio stations coast to coast.

I am an experienced non-fiction, fiction and commercial writer. I earned more than seventy Addy Awards in the twenty years I wrote for radio, television and print. I worked as an Executive Director at non-profit organizations for more than a dozen years. In that capacity, I served three terms by appointment of the Governor of Texas on the State Advisory Committee and received the 2002 NACG Freedom Fighter Award.

I was born in Baltimore, Maryland, lived more than two decades in Virginia and now live in New Braunfels, Texas with my husband and a cat with an attitude.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Lisa on January 22, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Fanning is one of my fave true crime authors, and as always, she portrays this fabulously & objectively...but the editing was AWFUL.

I was very disappointed in that aspect. It really interupts the flow of reading when you come across missing words or jumbled sentences such as:

"They met with meet with.."
"...when didn't show up.." (When WHO didn't show?)
"and and..." (spell/grammar check would have caught this)

I found more than 50 of that type of error, & a misplaced comma or two.

The telling of the case(s), making the characters 2 dimentional, & every other aspect was great - but 5 stars means "perfect" and I cannot give it that.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By zenbren on February 17, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I usually like Fanning's books...this one bored me. I couldn't wait to read it after reading the previous reviews.

We learn a lot about the supporting characters in this story, including the victims...but where is the story of Raynella? She is a complete blank to me. Maybe she killed the second husband (maybe not) but to want to dig up the first husband's remains to prove she had a hand in his demise was absurd..he was terminal with cancer and how many lifetimes in prison can she serve?

Maybe I was expecting too much from this book, but in my opinion, it didn't deliver.

I will say that the section describing life in Oak Ridge during the Manhattan Project was the best part of the book...I've ordered a book about that secretive place and time.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By K. Curtis on April 1, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I usually really enjoy Fanning's books but this one was really poor. No insight at all of the crime. I couldn't even finish it. Hope her next one is up to her usual standards.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Pinkyrose on June 25, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Manning didn't attend the trial; she has never met Raynella; she doesn't know the town or county; she has no inside knowledge of this case, then, how can she write a book? She left out all the good stuff because she doesn't know the details. Her book is written by someone who has read about this case, not someone who has lived it.

She writes from the point of view of a town gossip who is repeating what she has been told about the case.

Poor research; poor writing; bad book.

Here are some random details she didn't tell her readers:

l. David was present at the barn when Ed died.
2. David was unfaithful to Raynella---he had tons of girlfriends.
3. Davis's bladder was full; meaning he never woke up the day he died, therefore, he could not have shot himself.
4. The 2nd bullet killed him; the 3 went into the bed.
5. Raynella used to answer her door stark naked.
6. David had an appointment to go with a friend to get mulch the day he died. No one who is going to kill himself makes appointments.
7. The dryer was on when the police arrived. Oh, sure, I'll check on my dead husband and do a load of laundry.
8. Each bullet in the gun was from a different company.
9. Raynella and David had been arguing heavily the night before he died. He was telling her she had messed up the tractor and she was livid with him. They had both called his daughter, Cindy, and Raynella told her she just wanted to kill him.
10. The son-in-law told her daughters that he believed Raynella did it.
11. She would have never been indicted, but we changed sheriffs and the new guy went after her.
12. She has paid her lawyer more than $150,000; where did she get the money?
13. Raynella spoke at David's funeral.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ned Ferguson on January 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
From the biased perspective of a Knoxville native, I enjoyed this book immensely. As an East Tennessee land surveyor, and one growing up in the Karns community, I am personally acquainted with a number of people mentioned in the book and familiar with every landmark mentioned. Therefore, Her Deadly Web holds a unique fascination for me, as it surely will for many locals.

Here is a cautionary tale about the dangers of power and influence pedaling. What begins as "innocent favors" for friends or the like-minded can quickly progress to a cover-up for criminal activity. And there is no question that Raynella Dossett-Leath received preferential treatment on several fronts. I hope that all officials will recognize this story as an object lesson concerning the critical importance of detachment and objectivity. Public officials, law enforcement and investigators owe the public the duty of integrity. Too often, this duty is treated flippantly. The author's recounting of the corrupt behavior of those entrusted with our protection is as shocking as it is frustrating. I had forgotten about the sordid conduct of medical examiner Randall Pedigo and his role in the case, only to be followed by a subsequent scandal involving his successor. If people only did their jobs simply and competently, events would have unfolded very differently.

An epilogue of malfeasance is missing from the book, due to the timing of publication. Knox County Judge Richard Baumgartner, presiding in the Dossett-Leath case, stepped down and was disbarred in October 2011 amidst a sex and drug scandal. As a result, the verdict in the case may well be overturned.
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