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Maggody a hotspot for comic mayhem

Malice in Maggody

Joan Hess

Open Road Media

Mystery & Thrillers

Pub Date 14 October 2017


Malice in Maggody is as hilarious today as it was when Joan Hess first published it. Maggody is the epitome of a hick town, filled with bizarre characters that you can’t help but like - well maybe not “like” but reading about all of the wild goings on is a pleasure. Arly Hanks, Maggody chief of police, is a voice of sarcastic reason, while her mother Ruby Bee and her mother's best friend Estelle manage to contribute to the chaos by “helping” Arly with her investigations.

Malice in Maggody is a fine introduction to Hess’s popular series. Mayor Jim Bob Buchannon and the rest of the city council have a plan to save Maggody. Needless to say it goes awry. I can’t even begin to describe what happens. Yes there is a murder, but it is second to all the comedic mayhem accompanying the disappearance of a local official. (The murder happens about ⅔ in). I can say that the ending is fantastic. It is a literal zoo of comings and goings.

The amount of sexual references make Malice in Maggody inappropriate for younger mystery lovers. If you don't mind lots of redneck jokes, and don't take yourself too seriously you will have a wonderful time reading Malice in Maggody. It is a pleasure to see it back in print.


I received a copy of Malice in Maggody from the publisher and in exchange for an honest review.



After a crossbow killing at a cheap roadside motel, Ozarks police chief Arly Hanks finds herself investigating her first murder case.

Her marriage over and career gone bust, Arly Hanks flees Manhattan for her hometown: Maggody, Arkansas. In a town this size, nothing much ever happens, so Arly figures she’s safe as the town’s first female chief of police—until the husband of one of the local barmaids escapes from state prison and heads for town. And that’s not all. An EPA official with ties to polluting the local fishing hole has suddenly vanished off the face of the earth.

As if two manhunts aren’t enough to contend with, a body has been discovered at the pay-by-the-hour Flamingo Motel, shot clean through the neck with an arrow. For some reason, Maggody’s residents—all 755 of them—have gone tight-lipped, stonewalling Arly’s investigations, and Arly hasn’t a soul to trust but her half-wit deputy. Now, as Maggody’s finest, she’ll have to show a little muscle and a lot of cunning to curtail the inhospitable mountain malice that’s overtaken her town. And she’ll have to watch her own back every step of the way.

From Agatha Award–winning author Joan Hess, Malice in Maggody is the novel that introduced police chief Arly Hanks—the indomitable sleuth of the popular and long-running Maggody series.

Malice in Maggody is the 1st book in the Arly Hanks Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.

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