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The Maggody Militia: An Arly Hanks Mystery Hardcover – April 1, 1997
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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From School Library Journal
YA. Another romp through the small Arkansas town populated by the quirkiest characters in fiction today. This time the problems are caused by a group of camouflage-clad survivalists tramping through the woods during hunting season. One of them is killed and Sheriff Arly Hanks is called in to solve the murder. This is the tenth title in this comic mystery series.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Hess created a gem when she invented the wacky world of Maggody, Arkansas. From a movie crew making a pornographic film to a gaggle of extraterrestrials, there has been no shortage of loopy situations to entertain Maggody's citizenry, usually to the despair of the local sheriff, Arly (aka Ariel) Hanks. Given past history, it's hardly surprising to find Maggody playing host to a group of superpatriot militiamen in town to recruit more members and play war games on Cotter's Ridge, home of the local moonshiner's still and a feral member of the notoriously inbred Buchanon clan. Despite Arly's protest that local deer hunters will be out in swarms, drunk, and liable to shoot at anything that moves, the militiamen go ahead with their exercises--only to have one member fall dead the first morning. Matters are further complicated by the arrival of some bad-tempered ostriches (we're not making this up) and the determined sleuthing of Arly's mother, Ruby Bee, and her best friend, Estelle Oppers (proprietress of Estelle's Hair Fantasies). If this all sounds totally cuckoo, it is, but the devoted legions of Maggody fans expect nothing less, and those new to the craziness will soon be laughing along with the rest of us. A fine addition to a vastly entertaining series. Stuart Miller
Top customer reviews
Case in point, this current book. We have lots to notice here. A group of pseudo-militia take up residence in the hills of Maggody and decide to go on maneuvers. Moreover, they do this in deer season. Arly already sees a problem with this, and of course she’s right. It isn’t long before one of the group is killed, presumably in a hunting accident. But is it? Some other things are added. A glamorous blonde, Kayleen, has come to town, planning to start a pawn shop business. We soon find she has a poor record of success in her marriages; we know of two husbands who met untimely deaths. Inexplicably, Kayleen seems romantically interested in the unlovely Brother Verber. Then there are the burglaries. And a most weighty impending blessed event.
There’s more, but that’s enough for the flavor of the story. Needless to say, we are led a merry chase once more by Arly and the residents of Maggody. Joan Hess does it again! Please note, yes, I gave this five stars. It may not be the greatest literature, but Hess is always fun to read. And in today's world, fun is in short supply.
I think this is a series that gets better as it goes on. There is a certain crudity and dependence on cliches and stereotypes in the earlier character drawing. The fat girl Delia is greedy; the preacher is a hypocrite. The later ones have more subtlety.
"She had her cat, Pussy Toes, her apartment in a quiet neigborhood, her meetings of the genealogical society, her knitting projects for nieces and nephews, and her annual vaction to a family-run hotel in Mexico where she remained drunk out of her mind for ten days straight." You might accuse Hess of making fun of alcoholism in that portrait of Miss Vetchling but it has a certain style and sharpness.