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.
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.