When a woman is shot in a cannabis patch, Arly Hanks must restore order to her Ozarks community, in this sharp-witted mystery by an Agatha Award–winning author.
When small-town police chief Arly Hanks returns to Maggody, Arkansas, after vacation, she finds the population has risen to a booming 802. Among the newbies: Madame Celeste, the psychic who’s holding locals in thrall with her predictions of doom; a handsome new high school guidance counselor; and a gaggle of mantra-chanting hippies who have turned the old general store into the source for cosmic harmony. Unfortunately, life in Maggody is anything but harmonious.
Robin Buchanon—a member of Maggody’s most abundant family—has been murdered. The moonshiner, prostitute, and mother of four foul-mouthed little bad seeds was found shot to death in a booby-trapped marijuana field. Assuming the weed harvesters are sending a message to trespassers, Arly decides to hold vigil and set her own trap. But when another, seemingly unrelated, murder catches Arly off-guard, even Madame Celeste can’t predict where this case is headed.
An Agatha Award finalist, Mischief in Maggody is just the kind of “bawdy, cheerful entertainment” that has brought countless fans to Joan Hess’s quirky, long-running Maggody series (Kirkus Reviews).
Mischief in Maggody is the 2nd book in the Arly Hanks Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
Maggody, a little Ozark town where nothing ever happens, has problems. Its first female police chief, Arly Hanks (Malice in Maggody), comes back from vacation to find the community in an uproar: practically everyone is under the influence of psychic Madame Celeste, four hippies have taken over a local store and local prostitute and moonshiner Robin Buchanon has disappeared, leaving behind five hungry children. The mayor's wife, busybody Mrs. Jim Bob Buchanon (the town has a ``plethora of Buchanons'') wants Arly to do something about the children, a wild and uncivilized lot, but Arly manages to foist them onto Mrs. Jim Bob while she goes hunting for the mother, whom she finds with her head blown off in the middle of a marijuana patch. As she sets out to discover who planted the weed and then booby-trapped it, the children proceed to bring Mrs. Jim Bob low while Madame Celeste has premonitions of disaster. Aided by a possible new love interest, David Allen Wainright, guidance counselor at the local high school, Arly tries to help the children, particularly the foulmouthed but oddly charming Hammet. Another death and the public humiliation of two of the town's most righteous citizens take place before peace comes to Maggody once again. Hess writes an engaging tale, although the raunchy characters impart a certain vulgarity to the text.