Nothing ever happens in Maggody, Arkansas, population 755. Aside from handling the occasional barroom brawl or exploding still, chief of police Arly Hanks spends her days sipping coffee and squashing flies. She returned to Maggody two years ago, licking her wounds after a bad Manhattan divorce, and she fell backward into the role of sheriff. From Hizzoner the Moron - also known as Jim Bob Buchanon, the pettily corrupt mayor - to Ruby Bee Hanks, Arly's mother and the town's foremost gossip, the people of Maggody are all crazy in their own ways, and that craziness is about to turn deadly.
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I really enjoyed this audiobook
Wonderful small town comic mystery series
The Maggody series is one of my favorite, favorite cozy mystery series. That's partly because it's set in Northwest Arkansas, just outside of Fayetteville, where I lived for many years, and the people and places ring true. There's a lot of warm-hearted character-based humor and the mysteries are always interesting, inventive, and fun. I've read them all and now that some are being rereleased as audio books, I'm "reading" them again.
I've wondered if the books would have the same appeal to persons who don't know and love the locale. Certainly, as admittedly comic mysteries, the characters are drawn broadly and some may think the satire is troweled on perhaps a little too thickly. Perhaps it is, but there's always a core of reality that, if you know the Northwest Arkansas Ozarks, you will recognize and relate to immediately.
In "Much Ado in Maggody" there is embezzlement, bank fraud, arson, sexism, romance, small town politics, small town religion, and, of course murder. The series also has an important social conscience often involving protecting small towns from outside con artists or unscrupulous developers and, in this case, women's rights in the workplace. I was very impressed at the author's ability to tie all of these together in an ending that was inventive and exciting. If you like the Arkansas or Missouri Ozarks, this is required reading. For all others it's highly recommended.
- Leon Miller