The Maggody Militia (Arly Hanks Series #10)

The Maggody Militia (Arly Hanks Series #10)

by Joan Hess
     
 

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Chief of police Arly (that's short for Ariel) Hanks makes sure there's law and order in Maggody, Arkansas (pop. 755), which isn't too difficult considering the only weapon she needs to tote around is a radar gun. Aside from Raz Buchanon's moonshine still up on Cotter's Ridge, Maggody is a peaceful little Ozarks town snuggled in the heartland of America, until a group…  See more details below

Overview

Chief of police Arly (that's short for Ariel) Hanks makes sure there's law and order in Maggody, Arkansas (pop. 755), which isn't too difficult considering the only weapon she needs to tote around is a radar gun. Aside from Raz Buchanon's moonshine still up on Cotter's Ridge, Maggody is a peaceful little Ozarks town snuggled in the heartland of America, until a group of camouflage-clad patriots march in with maneuvers - and murder. It all begins when a pretty widow named Kayleen opens a pawnshop over the hardware store and buys an old farm out on County 102. The widow is letting a group of survivalists use her back pasture for paint-ball war games during the first weekend of hunting season when bourbon-swigging good ol' boys with deer rifles shoot at anything that moves...and that might include make-believe soldiers in fatigues. Suddenly Arly has her hands full: burglars are breaking into remote homes throughout the county; Mayor Jim Bob is a missing person, and his wife is having a hissy fit; the very pregnant Dahlia Buchanon is behaving more bizarrely than usual; and Estelle, of Estelle's Hair Fantasies, gets a surprise inheritance that has the residents of Maggody running for cover. So when a survivalist gets killed, Arly is hunting for a motive, a means, and a murderer.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
When a small town of eccentrics (Maggody, Ark., pop. 755) meets the right-wing militia, strange things are bound to happen. And in this offbeat adventure (the 10th in the series, following Miracles in Maggody), town sheriff Ariel ("Arly") Hanks seems the only calm and rational creature afoot. Arly, divorced and returned home from New York City, has had a relatively calm month issuing speeding tickets, watching for teenage miscreants and keeping an eye on her mother Ruby Bee, the garrulous and relentlessly nosy bar and motel owner (who contributes four recipes to this adventure). But a recently arrived right-wing survivalist group, led by brusque "General" Sterling Pitts, has embarked on maneuvers on property recently purchased by newcomer Kayleen Smeltner. Arly is worried about stray bulletsDafter all, it is deer hunting season. She also worries about the local bootlegger and town hermitDboth easily excited. But she is not prepared for the murder of one of the militia men, and is further disturbed when it appears he might have been an FBI informant. And does the militia have any connection to a recent spate of burglaries? Everyone gets into the act, including a hugely pregnant teenager, a lecherous preacher and two irritable ostriches. Arly, a strong-willed and straightforward woman, turns this wacky chaos into an agreeable and engrossing lark. (Apr.) FYI: Joan Hess, who also writes the Claire Malloy mystery series, is current president of the American Crime Writers League.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
YAAnother 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.
Kirkus Reviews
The latest dispatch from Maggody, Ark., shows the town besieged by militant survivalists who'd be more threatening if their incompetence didn't rival the burlesque follies of the natives. The newcomers include "General" Sterling Pitts, the self-styled "Silver Fox" who takes time off from his two-bit insurance brokerage to send his overgrown Boy Scouts scurrying over rough terrain; unemployable drifter Reed ("Red Rooster") Rondly and his more articulate buddy, "Colonel" Barry ("Apocalypse") Kirklin; Dylan Gilbert, an auto mechanic who arrives in town stuffed to the gills with rumors of a double agent who's infiltrated the little band of patriots; and Kayleen Smeltner, the widowed pawnbroker who seems bent on supplying ordnance to every nutcase in town. Since the locals—especially Dahlia Buchanon, whose vast bulk demurely hides her pregnancy, and her husband Kevin, the half-wit scion of Maggody's first family—are just as goofy as Pitts's militia, if less dangerously so, that's a lot of loose cannons, even before a burglary turned murderous, a tactical exercise ditto, a pair of runaway ostriches, and Dahlia's peripatetic confinement put the icing on the cake.

Hess's sublimely silly tales (Miracles in Maggody, 1995, etc.) have always trod a fine line between off-speed mystery and regionalist farce. Here, the demented militants, with their minor- key echoes of the natives' craziness, makes an offer you can't refuse.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786211081
Publisher:
Macmillan Library Reference
Publication date:
07/01/1997
Series:
Arly Hanks Series, #10
Pages:
394
Product dimensions:
5.72(w) x 8.77(h) x 0.91(d)

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Sharyn McCrumb
Joan Hess is the patron saint of comic mystery.

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