Madness in Maggody Hardcover – Jan 1991
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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!
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.