cover image Mischief in Maggody: An Ozarks Murder Mystery

Mischief in Maggody: An Ozarks Murder Mystery

Joan Hess. St. Martin's Press, $14.95 (202pp) ISBN 978-0-312-01792-7

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. (August)