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O Little Town Of Maggody Hardcover – Feb 20 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton (Feb. 20 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525936548
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525936541
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.2 x 22.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,087,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Hess follows Maggody in Manhattan with another romp, the seventh, featuring the good folks from the small Arkansas town, pop. 755. When it's discovered that country music star Matt Montana was not only born in Maggody but plans to visit his birthplace to give a Christmas concert, the town goes wild with hopes of cashing in on a native son's good fortune. His old home, now a rundown shack, is refurbished, and plans are made to open "The Official Matt Montana Souvenir Shoppe." Matt announces that he will visit his only surviving relative, Aunt Adele. But then Adele disappears from her nursing home and Chief of Police Arly Hanks (she is the entire department), who returned to her hometown from Manhattan, begins to suspect a kidnapping. While Arly searches for Adele, the Nashville crowd arrives and the denizens of Maggody produce a stand-in for the missing auntie. Arly is wrapping up the old woman's mysterious disappearance when she discovers that the body of a murdered record company executive has replaced the mannequin in the window of Mrs. Jim Bob's General Store. Untangling the motives of Matt's entourage as well as the wacky reasoning of her townspeople keeps Arly on her toes for another uproarious visit to the backwoods.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Joy to the world! Arly Hanks, chief of police in Maggody, Arkansas, is back. It's Christmas in Maggody, and the town is all agog over the impending visit of country-western singer Matt Montana, who hopes to jump start a booze-ravaged career with press coverage of his heart-warming return to his hometown. One small problem: Matt's only relative in Maggody is an aging aunt who lives in the county home and has a tendency to listen to aliens from outer space on her hearing aid. Not to worry. Before you can say "money-spending tourists," the pious mayor's wife, Mrs. Jim Bob Buchanon, has sprung into action. Soon stores have been renamed in Matt's honor, souvenir shops opened, and the Montana homestead refurbished in country-cosy style. The disappearance of Matt's aunt from the home puts something of a wrinkle into the plans, leaving Arly to sort out the mess while trying to avoid Mrs. Jim Bob and her relentless badgering. Things go tolerably well until the dead body of Matt's promoter turns up, dressed as a Matt Montana mannequin in the window of Mrs. Jim Bob's souvenir shop. All in all, this is another delightful installment in a superbly comic series. And for all those Maggody fans who will ask, Marjorie, the pampered porcine pet, does reappear and even plays a key role in solving the mystery. Stuart Miller

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Getting better Jan. 8 2003
By D. P. Birkett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A country and western music star is scheduled to visit his claimed home town and visit his dear old great-aunt. The usual Maggody misadventures and murders familiar to all ardent Hessians take place.
I think this is a series that gets better as it goes on. There is a certain crudity and dependence on cliches and stereotypes in the earlier character drawing. The fat girl Delia is greedy; the preacher is a hypocrite. The later ones have more subtlety.
"She had her cat, Pussy Toes, her apartment in a quiet neigborhood, her meetings of the genealogical society, her knitting projects for nieces and nephews, and her annual vaction to a family-run hotel in Mexico where she remained drunk out of her mind for ten days straight." You might accuse Hess of making fun of alcoholism in that portrait of Miss Vetchling but it has a certain style and sharpness.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Another Maggody gem April 18 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Despite the small town of Maggody's inability to pull itself into the sophisticated world of today. Arly manages just fine. When a country music star and his entourage arrive for a Christmas special, things get kinda weird. Not to worry though, Arly has everything under control. Disappearing people and dying mannequins? Do not miss this Christmasy murder mystery.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Maggody Blues May 30 2011
By Cyn2 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I wanted to like this story, but all the characters, with the exception the the lead character, sound exactly the same. It had a few cute moments, but generally I had trouble finishing. I give it two stars.
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
O Little Town of Maggody Aug. 7 2008
By Anna M. Ligtenberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
ISBN 0451404572 - You know those people who tell sort of bad jokes and find themselves wildly amusing, while all you can do is roll your eyes? That's this Joan Hess book for me. And surely someone out there finds her amusing, because someone's buying the books - but I'm just rolling my eyes.

Arly's always got her hands full in Maggody, but this Christmas things are getting a little more hectic. The town is slowly dying, but there's hope on the horizon in the person of Matt Montana, Maggody's own prodigal son. He's serving his own career and the people of Maggody would benefit from a bit of tourism... so Matt's on his way to town. The problem is that Matt's Aunt Adele has gone missing. Arly is also trying to riddle out the moving city limits sign, deal with Dahlia's jealousy and suspicions about what Kevin's up to, the return of Hammett and a myriad of other goings-on in Maggody.

Arly Hanks reminds me of Isle of Dogs, but not quite as awful. In fact, not awful at all, just... dumb. The same "this is funny, really, you should laugh" feeling runs through both books, but they're just not - to me. The characters are so stereotypical that they're miles beyond amusing and closer to stupid. If you enjoy the tongue-in-cheek style, lightly mocking the mystery genre, you're going to enjoy Hess, and fans of Arly Hanks will like the book far more than I. Hess herself gave me a quote I couldn't pass up: "Writers ...they're so goofy nobody cares what they do."

- AnnaLovesBooks
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Same Boring Southern-Hick Joke Repeated Over and Over March 22 2009
By VB - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This poorly written book is a murder mystery in which no less than 3 people turn up dead. It's part of a series about Arly Hanks, a divorced woman in her 30s who is the entire police force over a tiny southern town named Maggody.

When Matt Montana, an up-and-coming country singer claims he was born in Maggody and plans to go home for Christmas, things start to happen. The town residents -- portrayed as one stereotyped country boob after another-- get celebrity fever as each of them greedily schemes how to make money off of Maggody being Matt Montana's birth place. Along the way, 3 people end of up dead and while I forced myself to finish the book, only 2 of the deaths were explained. Unbelievably, the third death was not cleared up.

Here's why I hated the book. First, there are no sympathetic characters in this book-- not even the protagonist, Arly Hanks. A list of a few of the southern hicks that populate the town are an obese newlywed (many jokes about how many chins she has) who fears her husband is stepping out on her, a moonshiner constantly in need of a bath complete with a large pet pig, a slick, hypocritical, greedy minister, a convenience store clerk with crooked teeth, beady eyes, as well as a low IQ, and a henpecked husband. The main thrust of the humor in the book is to portray southerners in every negative, stereotypical way possible. I don't mind some politically incorrect jokes, but this got to be too much. The book would have been a lot better if at least a few of the residents of Maggody were decent, sincere people. Every town no matter how big or small (be it Manhatten or Maggody) has its share of fools, but there are also wonderful, genuine denizens no matter how thick their accents may be.

To add to matters, Arly Hanks was little more than an after thought in the book. It was clear she was recovering from an unhappy divorce, but almost NOTHING happens in her life in the course of this book. No love interest, no good friends, heck, even her mother was a bumpkin who tended to lecture her.

The final insult to the reader is that the third death is not explained AND the author is aware of this. At the end of the book, she has Arly saying to a police detective from another town that while the third death looks suspicious, it's not under her jurisdiction so she wouldn't pursue it. What??!! I feel cheated! Even a bad murder mystery ties up all the loose ends.

The book fails on every level and I don't plan on reading another Joan Hess mystery. Life is too short to risk investing time in another novel by this author.


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