cover image O Little Town of Maggody

O Little Town of Maggody

Joan Hess / Author Dutton Books $19 (256p) ISBN 978-0-525-9365

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. (Nov.)