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Malice in Maggody (Arly Hanks, #1)
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Malice in Maggody (Arly Hanks #1)

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  2,623 Ratings  ·  70 Reviews
When murders disrupt the peaceful town of Maggody, Sheriff Hanks and her slow deputy, Paulie, set out on a hilarious, hell-raising chase through the backwoods in search of a murderer.
Mass Market Paperback, 240 pages
Published February 5th 1991 by Onyx (first published 1987)
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Jan 10, 2013 Karen rated it it was amazing
Joan Hess' Maggody series was my introduction to humorous mysteries and I've loved her books, as well as the subgenre of humorous mysteries, ever since. I admire Joan Hess so much that I planned a trip to Arkansas around a signing she was scheduled to do in Little Rock! I'm very happy to say that I was able to attend this signing and meet Ms. Hess!

In Murder in Maggody, the first in this series, protag Arly Hanks has returned home after a stint as a married lady in the big city. Even though she
Feb 04, 2017 Betty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have always enjoyed the Maggody series. It some of the best satire I have read. Ar!y Hanks has returned home after crushing divorces. She wants only solitude to recover. Arly accepts the office of Police of Chief Her Mother owns Ruby Bee Bar and Flamingo Motel. In this one, Arly finds herself not welcome at her Mother's restaurant as the town Council has kidnapped a government official. They have stacked him at the motel and provided entertainment. The girl is fun murdered at the motel and the ...more
Apr 28, 2011 Jamie rated it it was amazing
AHH Haa!! Finally!! A good cop mystery that is humorous and jaw dropping! Can't wait to read the next in the series. Police Chief Ariel (Arly) Hanks resides in her hometown of Maggody Arkansas where she is the first female sheriff of a police force of 2(this includes her) Like most people who live in small, no name towns, she tried to get away by moving to the big city of New York but divorced her husband and moved back when she had nowhere else to go. In a town where nothing happens, except for ...more
Aug 22, 2016 Victoria rated it really liked it
I read several installments of this series at least 15 years ago, maybe 20. To tell you the truth, I bet a couple of times a year, I think about Maggody, remembering the characters and the general hilarity of life in this podunk town. That's how much I enjoyed the books. Not sure why I didn't read through the whole series (as I normally would) but I think it was because they weren't always readily available. Fast-forward to e-books and the internet and this showed up on one of the book sites as ...more
Lisa Morin
Nov 25, 2014 Lisa Morin rated it really liked it
If you enjoy a laugh out loud cozy mystery, then this is the one for you.
Arly Hanks is such a colorful character and her mom Ruby Bee and friend Estelle add even more laughter in this book.
When the town is up in arms about a sewage treatment plant invading their town, the officials take it upon themselves to take care of business.

I voluntarily read an ARC of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
Garth Mailman
Jun 20, 2017 Garth Mailman rated it liked it
If you didn’t know already the novel was set in the south, Arkansas, names like Jim Bob and Larry Joe would give it away. Fishing for catfish and a display of dried beef jerky beside the garage cash register seal the deal. The style is so ah shucks down home it makes Andy Griffith's Mayberry look like an urban metropolis. Since I’ve driven through Dildo, NFLD, I’ll not question the placename Maggody.

The chief of police here is a woman. The turns of phrase contain gems like: "beanpole with acne"
Margie O'byrne
May 24, 2017 Margie O'byrne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Crime in backwoods Arkansas

A somewhat incredulous plot, but great fun. Will make a good series. Some characters are well done, others are interchangeable. Fun story line with enough plot twists to make it keep everyone guessing. Great picture of small town life.
May 17, 2017 Bernie rated it really liked it
Malice in Maggody is the first humorous book in the Arly Hanks cozy mystery series written by author Joan Hess.
Mar 09, 2017 Melody rated it really liked it
The internet comes to Maggody along with a female juvenile delinquent with a toddler in tow. When she ends up dead up on Cotter's Ridge Arly will have to figure out who and why. Hampered by hijinks on the Maggody website and the usual Buchanons Arly gets the job done as usual.
Mar 09, 2017 Lauretta rated it really liked it
I didn't read this series in order but was glad to finally see where it all began. I can see now how Arlie has developed through the series, but her personality and attitude are well established in this first book. Her habit of outsmarting the more established law enforcement branches is great fun. In this book we begin to see just how kooky the citizens of Maggody can be, but there's more to come!
Feb 16, 2017 JoAn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mystery, arc
Malice in Maggody by Joan Hess is the first book in the Arly Hanks Mysteries series and was definitely a laugh out loud ride. I know this series has been out for quite a while now; but I was happy to have the opportunity to begin this series as it's being re-released now.

Arly (Ariel)Hanks is Chief of Police in the small town of Maggody, AR. Arly left home to go to college, married, and then lived in Manhattan until her divorce. She's now returned home to lick her wounds and try to decide what to
Feb 16, 2017 Crittermom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 fi
JoAnne McMaster (Any Good Book)
Feb 19, 2015 JoAnne McMaster (Any Good Book) rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
rly Hanks is the sheriff of small-town Maggody, Arkansas. Her office consists of herself and her deputy, Paulie Buchanon. Things around town are quiet enough until there is an uproar over the possible pollution of the town's swimming/fishing hole. When an EPA employee arrives in town, things begin to happen...

Things as in the EPA representative disappears. Completely. Then there is an escaped convict, Carl Withers, too. So the state troopers are called in to find them, and the head trooper, Serg
Feb 12, 2017 Jeri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, netgalley
This was a very enjoyable book. Somehow I have missed reading this series, but I will definitely pick it up now!

Arly Hanks is the main character. She moves back to small town, Maggody, Arkansas and becomes police chief. Just like any other small town there are secrets, lies and politics. When a woman turns up dead at the local motel, an EPA official is missing and a convict is on the run. Arly has to put the pieces together. I never did figure out the killer was until it was revealed.

I was given
Jan 29, 2017 Bill rated it it was amazing
Joan Hess stands among a very few who can write suspense filled, satiric and humorous mysteries while creating likeable – and silly and hypocritical – characters much like many you might recognize and even might know – or be related to.

This is especially true of her Maggody series, and if you haven’t read one of these, this is a good place to start, her initial mystery in a long running mystery series.

Arly Hanks, divorced and home in her small town of Maggody, Arkansas, after living the high li
Jan 19, 2014 Janice rated it it was amazing
This is the one that started it all.

Arly Hanks returns to her hometown of Maggody, Arkansas (population about 800) from NYC after her marriage goes bust. She takes the job as town sheriff because she has security experience and could use the relaxation. What she doesn't count on is Maggody's first crime wave since a barn burned down and a cheerleader came running out with panties in hand. This time is murder and kidnapping.

Arly and her deputy, who is hope to be third-time lucky to get into the
Lee Miller
Feb 08, 2013 Lee Miller rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This humorous series of cozies is set in my old stomping grounds, a small town just outside of Fayetteville (called “Farberville” in the books) in the Northwest Arkansas Ozarks. What I love about this series is not just that each is very funny while succeeding as a fun, involving mystery, but also that I know the people, the places, the locale, the hills. A major setting in every book is a grocery store, and I know that store. I know the highway through town and the English professors who are je ...more
Helen Francini
Apr 05, 2016 Helen Francini rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Set in ultra-rural America, this book is meant to be humorous, but the characterizations are uniformly too superficial to draw more than a very occasional smile. The only even partly sympathetic character is the main one; the rest are too boring, dumb, and/or stereotypical to provoke any reaction except "how long till the final page?" The killer, who at least remains hidden in plain sight throughout, is one of the most one-dimensional characters in the story, which weakens the motive almost to t ...more
Sinthu murali
after reading Stephanie plum series I kept searching for books similar to that...
and I am very happy to say I found it,yes the heroine is cop just about the only difference
I love the heroine ,she is hilarious with intelligence(which is sadly lacking in stephenie,)
after reading the series I stoped and look at the travel section in library before that I just would have wandered away ,because Arly always read travel books and imagining herself there
I recommend everyone who look for cozy with lau
P. Upshaw
Jul 24, 2016 P. Upshaw rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Small-town high jenks

Many different background stories in a small town. Characters, many believing they know best, especially a mother. All the ins and outs of a small town. Add in the corruption, sexual interactions, and attempt to stop the pollution of the local water source, and it adds up to a very complicated series of activities. This is my first book by this author, and except for several words included that I don't believe belonged, it was a very good mystery. I plan to continue reading
Jan 12, 2010 Lee rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy, arly-hanks
Arly Hanks is back home in Maggody, Arkansas(Pop. 755) after her marriage, living in New York didn't work out. Taking the sheriff's job should be a piece of cake. With her mother Ruby Dee(who owns the Bar & Grill), Ruby's best friend Estelle ( salon owner) & characters with the mandatory names of Jim Bob, Larry Joe, & all the Buchanon's that are somehow related, one way or another. You have a fun, light, humorous series with plenty of southern humor.All the while Arly tries to keep t ...more
Feb 17, 2012 Michelle rated it liked it
Recommended to Michelle by: Martha B.
This is the first novel in the Arly Hanks series and it was a good beginning, and I am looking forward to subsequent novels for deeper character development. The series promises to be full of quirky and humorous antics. The A well-developed plot led the reader down a false trail in the whodunit story line. The small town Arkansas setting contributed to plenty of small town humor holds the promise for future laughs in subsequent stories.
Emily Cullen
Jun 22, 2016 Emily Cullen rated it really liked it
Sheriff Arly Hanks's territory is her hometown of Maggody, Arkansas, population 852. Things are usually quiet until an Environmental Protection Agent disappears and a barmaid's husband escapes from prison. This is the first book in the "Ozarks Murder" cozy mystery series and it covers everything from the power of Jesus to inbreeding! I read this book years ago and plan on reading through the series. Lots of humor and great stories!
Jan 30, 2017 Babette rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery-suspense
I read this book because the sequel was nominated for an Agatha Award and I wanted to check out the author. It was peopled with sterotypes and filled with horrible similes, plus the characteristics of the good-old-boy South were a bit thick. The plot was really not believable. With so many books to read, I don't think I will waste my time on the rest of this series unless I am desperate. Were my two stars too generous?
Aug 12, 2008 Carolyn rated it it was amazing
Joan Hess Has two series.Humorous murder mysteries. The Maggody series is my favorite. The "goober" characters in this whole series make you laugh out loud and also feel very superior. Also she has the Claire Malloy Series--a bookseller single Mom of a smart ass 15 year old and her clueless friend Inez. Many laughs in each one
Aug 10, 2013 Michelle rated it it was ok
This book could really use an editor (or the Nook Book copy at least). It started out slow, I was several chapters in before I decided I MIGHT read more books in the series. Definitely not a spend more money series though. More like I hope the library has these... Another issue I had was the stereotyping. Every quirky character imaginable made an appearance. That bugs me...
Jun 20, 2008 Mary rated it really liked it
Recommended to Mary by: found on library shelves
I am not overly fond of all the cursing she uses, but seeing as she is posed as a police officer in her car, maybe she knows there is that much in the area she is portraying. But the story was interesting and you can follow it quite well.
Jun 14, 2014 Sandy rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
This book had a very slow start but a nice surprise ending. It was a very quick read and fairly good for a first in the series.

I did like Arly. She could do with more fleshing out of her mother. Hope that happens. I will move onto the next in the series.
Maria Elena
Sep 06, 2011 Maria Elena rated it it was amazing
We love these books. Inbreeding, sinning preachers, enmeshed relatives and small town nosiness keep us laughing after we finish these stories. Even uptight people let their hair down and just chuckle with Arly and the gang. Just do it.
John Haake
Sep 26, 2016 John Haake rated it really liked it
My wife and I read this together. It was good for some good humor. I'm convinced I could never live in the south. I like Ms. Hess' character development - I think my wife and I spent more time discussing a few of the characters and their traits than we did actually reading the book.
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Joan Hess is the author of both the Claire Malloy and the Maggody mystery series. She is a winner of the American Mystery Award, a member of Sisters in Crime, and a former president of the American Crime Writers League. She lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Joan Hess also writes a mystery series under the pseudonym of Joan Hadley.

Series contributed to:
. Crosswinds
. The Year's 25 Finest Crime and Mys
More about Joan Hess...

Other Books in the Series

Arly Hanks (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • Mischief in Maggody (Arly Hanks, #2)
  • Much Ado in Maggody (Arly Hanks, #3)
  • Madness in Maggody (Arly Hanks, #4)
  • Mortal Remains in Maggody (Arly Hanks, #5)
  • Maggody in Manhattan (Arly Hanks, #6)
  • O Little Town of Maggody (Arly Hanks, #7)
  • Martians in Maggody (Arly Hanks, #8)
  • Miracles in Maggody (Arly Hanks, #9)
  • The Maggody Militia (Arly Hanks, #10)
  • Misery Loves Maggody (Arly Hanks, #11)

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