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Eleven stories of jealousy, lunacy, and murder told in the uproarious style of Joan Hess, the creator of Maggody, Arkansas. As he waits in the checkout line at Consumers Market, Jay Jay Anderson is certain of one thing: His wife, Cookie, deserves to die. In the tabloids, he finds a story about a man whose wife was kidnapped by Big Foot, and Jay Jay can't imagine a luckier fellow. But Cookie is a wino with nicotine-stained fingers, badly bleached hair, and a voice shrill enough to cut glass. . . . Big Foot wouldn't be interested. If Jay Jay wants out of his rotten marriage, he'll have to kill Cookie himself. "Big Foot Stole My Wife!" is classic Joan Hess: diabolical, hilarious, and utterly unpredictable. This sparkling collection of stories, which includes two tales culled from the Maggody police files of beloved small-town sheriff Arly Hanks, shows a master of comic mysteries operating at her very best. Fans of the comic small-town mysteries of Donna Andrews or Liz Lipperman will adore Joan Hess. The creator of the outrageous Ozarks hamlet of Maggody, she's one of the funniest authors in mystery fiction, and these stories show her at her laugh-out-loud best.
Delightfully deadly short fiction from the pen of Joan Hess, creator of Maggody, Arkansas. Althea is caught in a romance writer's worst nightmare: She's been trapped in one of her own melodramatic creations. Around her, strapping men chase after elegant women whose bosoms heave and whose bodices beg to be ripped. There's no television, no women's lib, and absolutely no escape. Worst of all, Althea fits right in. Everyone recognizes her as the penniless orphan rescued from a cruel uncle by a charming nobleman. Althea would rather be dead--and if she's lucky, she will be soon. The creator of the Claire Malloy Mysteries, which chronicle the adventures of a bookselling sleuth, Joan Hess knows better than anyone how dangerous romance novels can be. In "Death of a Romance Writer" and the other six stories in this volume, she redefines what it means to die laughing.
THE WORLD'S MOST DEVIOUS MINDS DELIVER KILLER MYSTERIES. ED McBAIN spins a tale of Prohibition, gangsters and love on the run MARCIA MULLER unravels the startling secrets of a bag lady's past SARA PARETSKY sets up her popular heroine V. I. Warshawski to be a fall guy ANNE PERRY stages a prison break and a double cross during the French Revolution NANCY PICKARD pits a female shamus with a pistol in her DD cup against a rapist RUTH RENDELL shows how clothes can make, or break, a woman REGINALD HILL issues invitations to an exclusive club, confidentiality guaranteed. The only entrance requirement: having committed the perfect crime... DONALD E. WESTLAKE sends a burglar disguised as Santa Claus laughing all the way to the bank--but the joke is on him... EDWARD D. HOCH plants the seeds of murder when a woman grows marijuana in her New York apartment... SARAH SHANKMAN makes jury duty more than a struggling TV writer's civic responsibility. It might be the answer to her prayers... Psychological thrillers...baffling who-dun-its...chilling suspense--this superb collection by today's leading mystery writers delves deep into dark hearts and twisted minds for some of the best crime stories ever. If you love mysteries, it would be a crime to miss it.
Claire Malloy discovers that house-hunting can be murder--literally--in the latest entry in Joan Hess's wildly entertaining series.
Retired florist Theo Bloomer would much rather stay at home than go on a disastrous Jamaican vacation in this charming cozy mystery. Every time Dorrie Caldicott gets into trouble, it falls to Theo Bloomer to bail her out. So when Dorrie and her college buddies rent a villa in Jamaica, Uncle Theo is called on to chaperone. An unassuming retired florist, Theo prefers pottering around his greenhouse to traveling the world, but he has a soft spot for his niece--and it may get him killed. At the resort, Theo struggles to make himself at home among Dorrie's preppy gang. As the students whip themselves into a frenzy of debauchery, Theo just looks the other way. But when fun in the sun gives way to kidnapping, extortion, drug smuggling, and murder, Theo will do anything to get home to his flowers. Fans of Kate Collins's bestselling Flower Shop Mysteries will find a kindred spirit in Joan Hess's Theo Bloomer. When this wilting violet is uprooted, the results are nothing short of hilarious. The Deadly Ackee is the 2nd book in the Theo Bloomer Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
Mayhem abounds in the Farberville high school. First the journalism teacher, Emily Parchester, is removed on suspicion of raiding the petty cash fund. Next, a series of suggestive letters start appearing in Dear Miss Demeanor's high school newspaper advice column. Finally, a murder: the principal is poisoned by cyanide in his peach compote -- made by Emily Parchester herself. As Claire Malloy takes over the journalism class -- she starts snooping on the side. And the body count begins to rise. . .
Chief of Police Arly Hanks will do whatever it takes to keep Maggody from losing its mind in this charming cozy mystery. In a town as peculiar as Maggody, Arkansas, it doesn't take much to tip the community into chaos. When Mayor Jim Bob Buchanon's SuperSaver Buy 4 Less takes out a full-page ad boasting the new supermarket's authentic tamales, gourmet deli counter, and various other bells and whistles, every restaurateur in town fears that Jim Bob is going to put him out of business. So when it comes time for the Buy 4 Less's gala opening, one citizen decides to play dirty, slipping something into Jim Bob's famous tamale sauce that leaves twenty-three unsuspecting attendees sick with food poisoning--and one dead. Was this a prank that got out of hand, or is there a maniac on the loose in Maggody? Finding out the truth will mean digging into the dangerous underbelly of Maggody's cutthroat restaurant community, and quick-witted police chief Arly Hanks is the only woman for the job. Joan Hess is one of the funniest mystery writers in the business, and this outlandish look into the greedy schemes of small-town business owners shows her at the top of her form. Cozy mystery fans know that once you visit Maggody, you'll never want to leave. Madness in Maggody is the 4th book in the Arly Hanks Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
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 watches the kids as closely as she would any hardened criminal, but when teenagers have a mind to get into trouble, there's nothing a police chief can do but limit the damage. She's just about got the situation under control when one of the kids finds a body, and all hell breaks loose in classic Maggody manner. The murdered woman sports a shaved head and a white robe, marking her as a Moonbeam, a member of a particularly kooky local cult. And caught between the sect and the law, Arly may be forced to sacrifice what little sanity she has left. Nobody pokes fun at religion quite as effectively as Joan Hess. This is another laugh-out-loud entry in one of the funniest mystery series of all time. Maggody and the Moonbeams is the 13th book in the Arly Hanks Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
Small-town police chief Arly Hanks takes on the New York Police Department to save her mother from a murder rap in this madcap police procedural. When her marriage went up in smoke, Arly Hanks left Manhattan and never looked back. As police chief of Maggody, Arkansas, population 755, Arly is a glorified traffic cop, and she couldn't be happier. But when Arly's mother, the indomitable Ruby Bee Hanks, is invited to a baking contest in New York, Arly is forced to return to the city she hates--and the Big Apple is even more rotten than she remembered. Ruby Bee has hardly preheated her oven when a naked man is found shot in her bedroom and the NYPD throws her in jail. As tempting as it may be to let her mother rot on Rikers Island, Arly has no choice but to solve the case herself, facing down killers, bakers, and the most dangerous villain of all: her ex-husband. Joan Hess is better than anyone when it comes to writing small-town murder mysteries, and Maggody in Manhattan shows she knows her way around big cities too. When the wacky residents of Maggody are loosed on the Big Apple, New York City will get turned upside down. Maggody in Manhattan is the 6th book in the Arly Hanks Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
In this hilarious cozy mystery, small-town police chief Arly Hanks tries to stop a right-wing militia from turning Maggody into a battlefield. The sign welcoming travelers to Maggody, Arkansas, reads "Pop. 755," and don't expect Hizzoner Jim Bob to repaint it just because there's someone new in town. The mayor won't go out of his way for anyone, especially someone wicked--and a woman who would open a pawnshop in Maggody must be very wicked indeed. Kayleen Smeltner decided to open the shop after her husband was killed during a burglary. She came to Maggody expecting peace and quiet, but she'll find this quaint little patch of nowhere isn't as peaceful as it seems. When a right-wing militia takes up residence in the pasture behind the pawnshop, police chief Arly Hanks knows it's only a matter of time before the bullets start to fly. The strange citizens of Maggody are on the verge of civil war, and it will only take one spark to set the town ablaze. There's no politics like small-town politics, and there's no town on earth like Maggody. This madcap take on right-wing militias is one of Joan Hess's most topical--and outrageous--mysteries yet. The Maggody Militia is the 10th book in the Arly Hanks Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
A part from small-town feuds and church scandal, things have been so quiet in the little Arkansas town of Maggody that even police chief Arly Hanks has found time for a vacation. But she returns to find trouble brewing and tongues wagging at fever pitch. The local old-folks' home has been sold to a mysterious outsider, and overnight the place has been transformed into the Stonebridge Foundation, an exclusive rehabilitation center complete with a stone-faced guard who doesn't speak a word of English and an even nastier dog. Soon there are rumors flying of mental patients roaming the countryside at night, and every character in town is keeping a gun close at hand, just in case. Everyone is dying to know what goes on behind those inhospitable gates, with the exception of Arly, who has enough rural business to keep her satisfied. When the beautiful young receptionist found drowned in the garden pool is identified as a local girl from nearby Farberville, it's clear the case may not only involve the suspicious characters who've recently moved to town, but also some of the citizens of Maggody, who may have a secret or two to hide themselves. There's the doctor who can't resist a dose of his own medicine and a roster of patients that reads like a who's who of tabloid headlines, as well as the local pastor who gets his spiritual inspiration with a little help from the sacramental wine, and the mayor's wife who makes it her business to know everything about everyone. Soon Arly finds herself on the trail of a killer and discovers she may be theonlyinnocent person left in town.
Police chief Arly Hanks tries to keep her head when the people of Maggody get UFO fever in this uproarious cozy mystery. Life is so boring in Maggody, Arkansas, population 755, the locals have resorted to reading supermarket tabloids, gobbling up every rumor of wolf men, zombies, and creatures from outer space they can get their hands on. And as the only sane woman in town, Chief of Police Arly Hanks just smiles and nods whenever her neighbors rave about the latest conspiracy theories. But to Arly's eternal horror, it looks like Maggody is about to become ground zero for an extraterrestrial invasion. The aliens will never know what hit 'em. It starts when strange circles appear in Raz Buchanon's cornfields, drawing reporters, newscasters, and every nut west of the Mississippi. But as supernatural fever hits Maggody, Arly is confronted with a very terrestrial murder. There may be aliens on Main Street, but in a town this strange, how could anybody tell the difference? Life has always been nutty in Maggody, but the madness is about to go paranormal. Master of cozies Joan Hess knows better than anyone how to push a mystery to the brink of madness--and then push it a whole lot farther. Martians in Maggody is the 8th book in the Arly Hanks Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
Another outrageous Maggody mystery, starring police chief Arly Hanks alongside a smooth-talking televangelist and a whole town full of sinners. Some days, police chief Arly Hanks can't help but see Maggody, Arkansas, as little more than a cesspool of poverty, ignorance, and incest--the kind of glorified trailer park that gives the South a bad name. But hey, it's home. So when silver-tongued televangelist Malachi Hope swoops into town, with a revivalist laser light show and plans to build a Christian theme park, Arly worries her beloved, if crazy, neighbors are about to be swindled. But it's Malachi who should be terrified. As the town whips itself into revival fever, it's all Arly can do to keep Maggody from coming apart at the seams. And when the girls' basketball coach is found dead, Arly can't help but suspect that the murder is related to Malachi's tent meetings. To save Maggody from itself, Arly will risk everything--in this world and the hereafter. What Carl Hiaasen did for Florida, Joan Hess has done for the Ozarks. This is a hilarious look at small-town greed and the irresistible madness of Maggody, Arkansas. Miracles in Maggody is the 9th book in the Arly Hanks Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
The madcap citizens of Maggody, Arkansas, descend on Graceland, and a bizarre murder mystery forces police chief Arly Hanks to pay homage to the King. When Chief of Police Arly Hanks came home to Maggody, Arkansas, after a bad divorce, she thought life here would be simpler than it was in New York City. But it's been one insane episode after another, and the latest eruption of chaos may just drive poor Arly around the bend. After all, Maggody is more than a town; it's a state of mind--and that mind is a bit deranged. When Arly's mother, Ruby Bee Hanks, and a few fanatics leave town on a pilgrimage to Graceland, Arly hopes for a few days of peace and quiet. But before you can say, "Blue Suede Shoes," one of the Elvis enthusiasts has been found dead, and the Memphis police are flummoxed by the tourists' unique brand of crazy. Arly will have to solve the murder herself because, as she knows all too well, it's not insane--it's Maggody. The people of Maggody love having a tacky good time, and Elvis-lovers know that there's nowhere tackier, or more fun, than Graceland, Tennessee. The madmen of Maggody should fit right in. Misery Loves Maggody is the 11th book in the Arly Hanks Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
Another rip-roaring cozy mystery set in outrageous Maggody, Arkansas, a town so strange that even Hollywood filmmakers can't believe it's real. From the Kwik-Stoppe-Shoppe to the Pot O' Gold Mobile Home Park, there isn't much glamour in Maggody . . . but this flyspeck Arkansas town is about to become famous. When a Hollywood production company chooses Maggody as a backdrop for an X-rated Ozarks "Romeo and Juliet," the locals are starstruck. And as Maggody is flooded with washed-up actors, ruthless producers, and a cynical crew, the townsfolk will do anything for a close-up--even if it means resorting to murder. Chief of Police Arly Hanks has no time for Hollywood--she's got her hands full with a local arsonist--but when one of the actors is found dead in a bathtub, she's forced to intervene. As the film spins out of control, Arly realizes that the citizens of Maggody will stop at nothing to get their fifteen minutes of fame--even as the town burns down around them. In the spirit of David Mamet's State and Main, this delightful novel shows that when Hollywood collides with small-town values, the movie industry doesn't stand a chance. Mortal Remains in Maggody is the 5th book in the Arly Hanks Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
A hilarious police procedural set in the strangest town in the Ozarks, where whip-smart sheriff Arly Hanks does everything she can to keep the peace. Nothing ever happens in Maggody, Arkansas, population 755. Aside from handling the occasional barroom brawl or exploding still, Chief of Police Arly Hanks spends her days sipping coffee and squashing flies. She returned to Maggody two years ago, licking her wounds after a bad Manhattan divorce, and she fell backward into the role of sheriff. From Hizzoner the Moron--also know as Jim Bob Buchanon, the pettily corrupt mayor--to Ruby Bee Hanks--Arly's mother and the town's foremost gossip--the people of Maggody are all crazy in their own ways, and that craziness is about to turn deadly. When Joanna Mae Nookim returns to work after giving birth, the bank manager bumps her down to minimum wage as punishment for taking time off. It's outrageous, but there's nothing Arly can do. But when the bank burns to the ground and the head teller is found dead, Maggody threatens to burst into an all-out revolution for the sake of women's rights. Fans of comic mysteries have known for years that no small town is quite like Maggody. With its wild cast of characters and its no-nonsense female detective, Much Ado in Maggody is evidence of master of cozy mysteries Joan Hess at her best. Much Ado in Maggody is the 3rd book in the Arly Hanks Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
Under the benign watch of Police Chief Arly Hanks, things are pretty quiet in the sleepy Arkansas town of Maggody these days. Not even the prospect of a historical society-funded Civil War documentary on the locally touted (albeit historically insignificant) Skirmish at Cotter's Ridge of 1863 does much to stir up the denizens of this sleepy backwoods town. What does finally get the rumor mill buzzing, however, is the revelation that two saddlebags of Confederate gold were hidden in a local cave to keep them from falling into Yankee hands. Once word gets out that the saddlebags were never recovered, almost everyone in town has a plan to get their hands on the lost gold. Meanwhile, a colorful cast of outlanders has taken over Maggody. They include a dewy Charleston belle, a famous writer of historical romances, her ne'er-do-well son, and three dozen obsessive reenactors who have not yet acknowledged that the Civil War ended over a hundred years ago, as well as a documentary film crew and a handsome, if enigmatic, filmmaker with ties to Arly's past. Arly has more than enough on her hands trying to locate missing senior citizens and keeping the visitors from each other's throats, but when the genealogist of the Stump County Historical Society dies under questionable circumstances, and a member of the Buchanon clan is the victim of a vicious and fatal attack, Arly finds herself faced with the most baffling whodunit of her career, with a disgruntled ghost a possible prime suspect.
When the uproarious town of Maggody, Arkansas, plugs into the Internet, the digital age turns deadly. Aside from the odd stolen dog or vandalized lawn ornament, there's been no recent crime in Maggody, Arkansas, population 755, and that's how Chief of Police Arly Hanks likes it. Things have been so quiet she's taken to sitting in on school-board meetings, and she's doing just this when the high school announces the new computer lab, which will be open to everybody in town. To Arly--who doesn't trust her neighbors to handle a toaster, much less a computer--it seems like an invitation to disaster. Little does she know that when Maggody logs on, the results will be murderous. As soon as the first modem is plugged in, Maggody's computers are flooded with hackers, pornography, libel, and worse. And when a newcomer is brutally murdered, Arly must use low-tech resourcefulness to catch a digital killer--and save Maggody from the information age. Fans of Ellen Byron's Cajun Country mysteries will find themselves right at home in Maggody, where everyone knows everyone--and everyone is related. This is unquestionably one of the funniest mystery series of all time. Murder@maggody.com is the 12th book in the Arly Hanks Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
Retired florist Theo Bloomer goes to Israel to rescue his niece from terrorists in this engrossing mystery. On the shores of the Dead Sea, Dorrie Caldicott is coming into bloom. A spoiled graduate of the finest prep schools on the Atlantic Seaboard, she went AWOL during a tour of Israel and put down roots in a kibbutz. Her mother simply won't stand for this kind of behavior, and it falls to Dorrie's uncle Theo Bloomer, a retired florist who's as meek as a daffodil, to bring the girl home. But in the sands of Israel, this gentle flower will be forced to take root or die. Theo has hardly arrived at the settlement when a pair of murders makes it unlikely he and his niece will ever make it home. Under threat by terrorists, the police, and the attentions of a few dozen intellectual farmers, Theo and Dorrie must find the killers if they wish to escape the Holy Land alive. Anyone who has envied Nero Wolfe's orchid collection will find himself right at home with Theo Bloomer, a globetrotting florist who--like Rex Stout's most famous detective--would prefer to be at home with his plants. Readers won't want to miss joining Theo in this unique series by Joan Hess, one of the funniest mystery novelists on the planet. The Night-Blooming Cereus is the 1st book in the Theo Bloomer Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
Country music, greed, and the unique madness of Maggody, Arkansas, collide in this delightful cozy mystery starring unflappable police chief Arly Hanks. Matt Montana is the favorite son of sleepy Maggody, Arkansas. With the voice of an angel and a smile as charming as that of the devil, he's made a name for himself under the bright lights of Nashville and become one of the most famous faces in country music. Meanwhile, Maggody has sunk into the worst recession in years. So when Matt announces that he's returning home to play a benefit concert, the locals do everything they can to cash in on Montana fever. The oddballs of Maggody smell a payday, and not even murder can stop them from cashing in. As every shop in town stocks up on Matt Montana memorabilia, police chief Arly Hanks--the only sane woman in town--tries to keep her head down. But when one of Matt's entourage turns up dead in a store window, it's up to Arly to make sure this isn't country music's last act. The Arly Hanks Mysteries have skewered topics from Hollywood filmmakers to right-wing militias to the greedy schemes of televangelists, and this take on country music superstars shows the town of Maggody at its best. Fans of cozy mysteries know that nobody does it better than Joan Hess. O Little Town of Maggody is the 7th book in the Arly Hanks Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
When Claire Malloy's best friend Luanne Bradshaw goes down with a badly sprained ankle, someone must fill in her shoes as Thurberfest Beauty Pageant coordinator and usher a bevy of aspiring beauty queens through the two-day event. Enter Claire Malloy to the rescue. But this is one job Claire would gladly be fired from. Now, already fending off a hostile theater-owner, an overly-aggressive personal trainer, an incontinent show-dog, a fifteen-year-old daughter with more growing pains than she can count, and a talent contest in need of some talent, Claire must face one more problem--someone is trying to kill the reigning Miss Thurberfest. When a ghastly murder scene signals the culprit's success, Claire's investigative instincts take over, but when she digs too close to the truth, the race is on to discover the killer's identity before Claire herself is crowned the next victim...
MURDER IS GOING TO THE DOGS... Bookstore owner and amateur sleuth Claire Malloy has donned another hat (or is that a collar?) as a petsitter extraordinaire. Her furry charges are Miss Emily Parchester's beloved basset hounds, Nick and Nora, and two very good dogs they are. Everything is just ducky...until Nick and Nora vanish. Other neighbors' pets have also disappeared, and no doubt a dognapper is on the prowl... Switching to her sleuthing chapeau, Claire quickly locates the shabby abode of Newton Churls, who runs a black market in stolen animals. But instead of a pen filled with purloined pooches, Claire finds one very dead Newton-and it appears his own pit bull terriers did him in. Or did they? Claire smells a human rat behind the brutal murder. And mysteriously, Nick and Nora are still missing. Now Claire is doggedly determined to find them...and run a killer to the ground.
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