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Maggody and the Moonbeams

(Arly Hanks #13)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  693 ratings  ·  45 reviews
A youth trip turns deadly, and Chief of Police Arly Hanks must catch the killer while serving as chaperone, in this hilarious small-town mystery.

Arly Hanks has caught all sorts of killers since she returned home to Maggody, Arkansas, population 759, but she’s never tangled with anyone as devious as the local youth group. While chaperoning a trip to Camp Pearly Gates, Arly
Kindle Edition, 258 pages
Published June 7th 2016 by Road (first published 2001)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  693 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Steven Walle
Jan 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this read. It was a murder and kid knapping mystery. There were some pretty funny charicters throughout.
I recommend this book if you like some light reading.
Enjoy and be Blessed.
Sep 30, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-copy
I could almost hear the banjos playing. Deep in the Ozarks, Arly Hanks, Chief of Police of Maggody, gets roped into chaperoning a group of raucous teens on a retreat. When a body turns up in the woods, it's determined that she's one of the "Beamers", a strange cult of women who live in the woods with their children. Several LOL moments and headshakes accompanied my reading. Anyone who can name one of their characters Sifalus isn't all bad in my book.
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I got the impression the main character, female police chief of a small town, is not impressed by the men she comes in contact with either socially or otherwise. I did not like how the story jumped around from the main plot in first person to two other subplots in third. By the end of the book, the main plot was resolved, but the other two were left hanging. Maybe they were supposed to lead into the next book, but they were not intriguing enough to me to want to look for more by the author.
May 14, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-read
I found the characters of this book to be difficult to like, even for their quirkiness. The main character Arly isn't very believable in her role of police officer for Maggody and many of the other characters didn't seem quite believable either. And I've lived in small towns with plenty of quirky people. The plot was weak too, even by cozy mystery standards. Unfortunately I won't be picking up any more Arly Hanks mysteries.
Melva Clark
When Arly gets roped into chaperoning a group of teens on a mission trip to Camp Pearly Gates she has no idea what she is getting herself into. There is a handsome fisherman, a group of strange women and an inept police department. There are a lot of teenagers, an uptight church woman and a drunken preacher. All this adds up to a wild adventure.
Karen Keyte
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favorite Maggody books. Even though there are a couple of subplots, one involving Raz Buchanon and one involving Dahlia and Kevin, there is a lot less jumping around than is usual in the series. Arly remains the only non-irritating character, but it’s a good little light-hearted mystery.
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Chief Arly Hanks gets rope into chaperoning the church youth group by none other than Mrs. Jim Bob Buchanon (the mayor's wife). They are going to help fix up the soft ball complex at Camp Pearly Gates. When strange visions are being reported Arly needs to keep the teenagers out of trouble and find out what else is going on at the camp.
Alice Price
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A quirky cozy with all the Southern traditions

An interesting read with authentic Southern dialogue and customs. A must read it you like who did it but the ending will catch you by surprise.
Fiona Forthe
The characters in the book are well-rounded and well-written, but for some reason the Maggody series just doesn't hook me. It's not a bad book, but I like her other series better. I don't know why.

Though I will say that although I guessed one villain, I didn't guess the other. So that's good!
Mary Beth
Got out of Maggody and into another town. One of the better ones in the series.
Delores Levitt
May 13, 2017 rated it did not like it
Finished it but was too silly.
Apr 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Very entertaining. I still don’t know how Arly figured out who the killer was. It was like a chapter was accidentally omitted.
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I keep reading these books because they are truly Hilarious.
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably the best of the series. No spoilers. Just finished the last one last night and kinda sorry there won't be anymore adventures of Arly and Ruby Bea.
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Arle gets shanghaied into chaperoning the youth group doing repairs to a camp that will be for ill children. Along with Mrs. JimBob and Brother Verber she is to ride heard on 10 of Maggody's finest teens. Of course they find a cult of bald women with their children hiding out on the camp along with a stray camper. But then one of them is found dead and Arle is left to investigate.
Sandy Adams
Mar 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Too 'cute' for me.

Lots of twists which is usually a good thing but so much was just plain silly. I was looking for a nice light mystery but this book at best should have been a short story. Three stars may even be generous.
Like many comic mysteries, the Maggody books are slight--I didn't recall that I'd read this one previously until the answer to whodunit leaped into my head at the 3/4 mark--but fun all the same. Maggody, Arkansas is full of dim-witted miscreants of various varieties, a source of both exasperation and job security for police chief Arly Hanks. This book was a typical outing for the series, making me laugh out loud a time or two. Maybe it's because it reminds me--just a little--of the small town in ...more
Jasmine Giacomo
Mar 04, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'd have given this two stars, but "it was ok" is an overstatement. I've read a few of Hess' Claire Malloy books, and this series appears very different, in several negative ways. Or maybe I just got the lamest book of the Maggody series.

Arly gets roped into chaperoning some horny teenagers up at a youth camp for a week, where they mess around, scream, fight, and build a few bleachers. Some cute guy wanders in now and again, and several of the locals at the nearest town and among the Moonbeams
Feb 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Books by Joan Hess are always a fun read. Haven't read one about Maggody in a long time. This was enjoyable. I love the characters, settings, and the situations they all get into.
Sep 18, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
#13 in the Chief of Police Arly Hanks comedic mystery series. Set in the small rural Arkansas town of Maggody, pop. 755 filled with low IQ barely making it financially people with many from the same extended family. Very little happens that requires police work. Arly's tranquillity is disturbed when she is pushed by the mayor's wife to help chaperon the church youth group, she must keep ten hormonally-challenged teens in line on a retreat to Camp Pearly Gates for a week. Things get quickly ...more
I'm not quite sure what to say about this book - it was not bad - I think I might have enjoyed it more if I had more background on Arly, which I would have if I had started with a book that's earlier in this series. I felt like this book needed some "oomph" in the plot - it seemed to just plod along at times. Despite this, I would try another in this series since I kind of liked Arly and the other characters in the quaint, small, rural town of Maggody.
Aug 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
10 teens, A preacher, The Mayors Wife, A cult of women, and some dead bodies, what more could you want at camp pearly gates? And once more Arly Hanks is in the middle of it. A good read. I will read it again
DPL. Reliable fun. A bit of a formula but she dies have some great wisecracks. The whole crew embarks to a neighboring town--step down apparently--where they try to fix up a camp and become entangled with a cult.
Nov 29, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, humor
Arly chaperones a church group of teens to a camp.
She meets a man who has potential for next time.
The Moonbeams are a group of abused women and kids who are fleeing form husbands and forming a cult.
Diane Hernandez
I love the characters but the mystery's solution was obvious.
Aug 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Another good romp in Maggody with Arly Hanks! The ending wasn't as neatly tied up as other ones, but it was still a good read. Love the small-town humor!
Teri O'brien
Feb 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joan Hess is always a fun read, and her characters are standout. This is like slipping on a familiar sweater and visiting with an old friend.
Arly Hanks
Julie H.
Jul 22, 2009 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
The 13th entry in the series. I need to get to the library!
It was okay. I think I've read too much of her books too close together and they've become too, too similar. Which is probably more of a failing on my part than the book. But, ennh.
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Joan Hess was the author of both the Claire Malloy and the Maggody mystery series. Hess was a winner of the American Mystery Award, a member of Sisters in Crime, and a former president of the American Crime Writers League. She lived in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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

Series contributed to:
. Crosswinds
. The Year's 25 Finest Crime and

Other books in the series

Arly Hanks (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • Malice in Maggody (Arly Hanks, #1)
  • 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)