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Madness in Maggody [Hardcover]

Joan Hess
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 1991 Arly Hanks Mysteries
When someone poisons the tamale sauce intended for the grand opening of Jim Bob's Super Saver store, everyone in Maggody, Arkansas, is certain there is a maniac on the loose, and Chief of Police Ariel ""Arly"" Hanks must investigate.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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From Publishers Weekly

As police chief Arly Hanks, last seen in Much Ado in Maggody , dreams of a romantic trip to Italy, chaos looms over her small Arkansas town. Mayor Jim Bob Buchanon is planning to open Jim Bob's SuperSaver Buy 4 Less, a supermarket with picnic pavilion and delicatessen that will drive other local food purveyors out of business. The grand opening, however, brings disaster when 23 food samplers are felled with suspected food poisoning. As Arly fights to keep the supermarket closed until the source of the poison is determined, she finds among the suspects her mother, Ruby Bee, proprietor of the local bar and grill, and the owners of the other two food stores in the area. Meanwhile, Jim Bob's partner, Lamont Petrel, an outland smoothie, disappears, giving rise to conjecture that he is the poisoner--and the rapist of a high-school girl. Before Arly resolves the case, another poisoning leads to murder and an ugly family secret is exposed. Hess's often broad-humored Maggody series gets steadily better as her characters become less caricatured, more fully developed.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Arly's Back and Better than Ever..... Jan. 9 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It was Hizzoner, Jim Bob Buchanon's big day. Jim Bob's Supersaver Buy 4 Less was ready to open. The ribbon cutting ceremony was beginning, the high school band was playing, the cheerleaders were cheering, and the crush of the crowd had created a traffic jam in sleepy Maggody, Arkansas (population 755). With the deli, fresh produce department and food service picnic pavillion, some of the local merchants were far from happy, afraid ol' Jim Bob would put them out of business. But big events like this don't happen too often in Maggody, and so the whole town turned out to check out the new competition and try some of the promised, free "gourmet" food. Within minutes, people started getting sick and dropping like flies, and the big opening became the big closing. With her hands full of citizen complaints, health inspectors, and threats from Hizzoner, Chief of Police, Arly Hanks, could barely keep up with all the chaos, gossip, and rumors. But when another round of poisoning ensues, and a local dies, Arly figures this isn't just some mean spirited prank, turns up the heat on her investigation, and she won't stop until she gets to the truth..... Turn off the phone, and lock the door, Joan Hess is back with another marvelous romp through Maggody that will have you laughing out loud, and rooting for Arly to the very end. Her well paced story line is full of entertaining, vivid scenes, and intriguing subplots, and her writing is crisp and smart, complete with witty, irreverent dialogue and back-woods humor. But it's Ms Hess' wacky and quirky cast of characters that makes this novel stand out, and once you've gotten to know Maggody's finest, and not so finest, you'll be hooked for sure. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars The funniest mystery series ever! Aug. 20 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Maggody series is the funniest mystery series that I have ever read. The characters are very well developed, and it does not take long before you feel like a citizen in this bizarre little town.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Arly's Back and Better than Ever..... Jan. 9 2002
By Roz Levine - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It was Hizzoner, Jim Bob Buchanon's big day. Jim Bob's Supersaver Buy 4 Less was ready to open. The ribbon cutting ceremony was beginning, the high school band was playing, the cheerleaders were cheering, and the crush of the crowd had created a traffic jam in sleepy Maggody, Arkansas (population 755). With the deli, fresh produce department and food service picnic pavillion, some of the local merchants were far from happy, afraid ol' Jim Bob would put them out of business. But big events like this don't happen too often in Maggody, and so the whole town turned out to check out the new competition and try some of the promised, free "gourmet" food. Within minutes, people started getting sick and dropping like flies, and the big opening became the big closing. With her hands full of citizen complaints, health inspectors, and threats from Hizzoner, Chief of Police, Arly Hanks, could barely keep up with all the chaos, gossip, and rumors. But when another round of poisoning ensues, and a local dies, Arly figures this isn't just some mean spirited prank, turns up the heat on her investigation, and she won't stop until she gets to the truth..... Turn off the phone, and lock the door, Joan Hess is back with another marvelous romp through Maggody that will have you laughing out loud, and rooting for Arly to the very end. Her well paced story line is full of entertaining, vivid scenes, and intriguing subplots, and her writing is crisp and smart, complete with witty, irreverent dialogue and back-woods humor. But it's Ms Hess' wacky and quirky cast of characters that makes this novel stand out, and once you've gotten to know Maggody's finest, and not so finest, you'll be hooked for sure. With a hilarious climax that deftly ties all the story threads together, and a very satisfying conclusion, Madness In Maggody is a pleasure to read in a series that just gets better with each new installment. For those new to Arly Hanks and company, start at the beginning with Malice In Maggody, and read them all. For those who are already fans, enjoy!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The funniest mystery series ever! Aug. 20 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Maggody series is the funniest mystery series that I have ever read. The characters are very well developed, and it does not take long before you feel like a citizen in this bizarre little town.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amusing Small Town Cozy Oct. 1 2006
By L Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In the 4th book in the Arly Hanks mystery series, a new supermarket is due to open in the small town of Maggody, Arkansas. Most of the business owners are furious, thinking that they will lose everything to the new store, Jim Bob's Supersaver Buy 4 Less. But on the opening day, after the band had played and the speeches were made, 23 people developed severe food poisoning at the free food giveaway in the picnic pavilion. Arly, Maggody's police chief, starts an investigation but cannot find proof of malicious intent until the results of laboratory tests are revealed. In the meantime, she tries to shut down the new store, and reluctantly agrees to keep the store open (but the picnic pavilion would remain closed). When pins and poison are found inside some pre-sealed snack cakes, Arly knows that someone is truly serious about thwarting the new business venture. But when someone dies from poisoning, this case turns from mischief to murder. Working hard despite having a gossip mill much larger than the town itself, Arly puts the pieces together and solves another mystery in this amusing peek at life in Maggody.

This is the first book that I have picked up in the Maggody series, and I have to admit that it did take me a while to figure out the characters and the dialogue. Not being born in the south, or from a small town, I found some of the aspects to be a bit odd at first...including the fact that there were only 755 people total that live in Maggody! But, I found the actions of the townspeople to be very comical and found the workings of the rumor mill to be entertaining. The mystery itself wasn't hard to decipher, but the appeal of this series seems to be in the characters themselves, as they are wacky, witty, and wonderfully entertaining. Great addition to the cozy genre!

The first book in the series is called "Malice in Maggody". Enjoy!
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book April 18 2014
By miclaud - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bought the whole series....very interesting reading. You can count on Amazon for all your needs. These were a great buy
4.0 out of 5 stars 4th Maggody Mystery-- Maggody Meets the Superstore Jan. 26 2013
By Sires - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Jim Bob Buchanon enters into partnership with Lamont Petrel, a silver haired, cold hearted business man, to finance and open a new supermarket, Jim Bob's Super Saver Buy 4 Less.

The amenities include The Picnic Pavilion, Genuine Homemade Mexican Tamales, and the lowest priced fresh produce in town. This threatens various livelihoods in Maggody including Ruby Bee's Bar and Grill. And Ruby Bee is the mother of Chief of Police Arly Hanks. If Arly doesn't think that this is going to cause to problems she has another think coming when her mother summons her to a confabulation with Ruby Bee and her side kick, Estelle of Estelle's Hair Fantasies.

Arly of course is proved wrong about her optimistic view of the good sense of the citizens of Maggody when the grand opening results in an attack of food poisoning for a large part of the attendees (most of the town including all of the potential suspects). When it turns out that the food poisoning was induced by the deliberate inclusion of syrup of ipecac in the tamales an investigation is commenced.

The death of one of the townspeople and the disappearance of Lamont Petrel heats the investigation up.

Meanwhile Ruby Bee is sponsoring a youth baseball team and has signed up Arly to coach and Brother Verber is seeking out sin from his trailer parked next next to the Voice of the Almighty church. Ruby Bee and Estelle decide to do some investigating on their own.

The chapters are short and tend to include spending some time in the head of each of the main characters. Arly's are told in first person because she is the reader's voice of sanity surrounded by the insanity of Maggody's regular inhabitants.

Joan Hess tries to introduce a bit of seriousness to this volume in her Maggody series and I'm not sure that it works. However as someone who has read most of the series it's an entertaining place to visit.

The preceding book is Much Ado in Maggody and the following book is Mortal Remains in Maggody. I have no idea why these books aren't all in Kindle editions because they would be perfect for reading one after the other like eating delicious but non-nutritious potato chips. Also it looks like the last Maggody book (as of 2013) was published in 2009 while the Claire Malloy series is still going on. Given I don't like the Malloy series that is kind of sad.
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