The Merry Wives of Maggody

An Arly Hanks Mystery

Arly Hanks Mystery

Joan Hess

Minotaur Books

Maggody, Arkansas (pop. 755) is perceived as a two-bit hick town, filled with one-bit hicks. But the mayor’s wife, Mrs. Jim Bob Buchanon, seeks to change that perception with her latest scheme: a charity golf tournament! Which presents a bit of a challenge, since no one in Maggody plays golf and there is no course. But when the prize for the first hole-in-one is announced—a top-of-the-line bass boat—suddenly Maggody goes golf crazy…with limited success and maximum domestic disorder.

Besides the townspeople, there are several outside figures who actually know how to play the game. Among them: The low-level PGA player Bonaparte Buchanon and Tommy Ridner, an instructor from a nearby country club. As for Sheriff Arly Hanks? She has more important things to worry about on, and off, the job—and just wishes all this golf business would go away.

When Tommy Ridner beats the odds and sinks the first hole-in-one, it looks like what’s done is done...until he’s found in his bass boat—dead. Now Arly Hanks is facing a complicated murder investigation for which darned near everyone in town is a suspect.


Praise for The Merry Wives of Maggody


“Well-paced suspense spiced with wry wit.”—Boston Sunday Herald on Closely Akin to Murder

“Clever…irreverent murder and mayhem.”—Baton Rouge Sunday Advocate on Closely Akin to Murder

“Wickedly amusing.”—Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine on Busy Bodies

 “Witty, pithy, and beautifully plotted…my favorite Claire Malloy so far.”—Patricia Moyes on Busy Bodies

“Intriguing…an amusing look at the universal human comedy.”—Fort Smith Times Record

“If you’ve never spent time with Claire and her crew, I feel sorry for you. Stop reading this nonsense and hop to it. You’ll see wit and humanity all wrapped up in a nifty murder mystery.”
—Harlan Coben

“Delightful…worthy of Hercule Poirot in the classic Death on the Nile.”—Publishers Weekly on Mummy Dearest

 “A good substitute for a trip to Egypt.”—Deadly Pleasures on Mummy Dearest

“Hess fans will find much to entertain them...”—Publishers Weekly on Damsels in Distress

“Lively, sharp, irreverent.”—The New York Times Book Review on Poisoned Pins

“Larcenous shenanigans…breezy throughout.”—Chicago Tribune on Poisoned Pins

“With her wry asides, Claire makes a most engaging narrator. The author deftly juggles the various plot strands…the surprising denouement comes off with éclat.”—Publishers Weekly on Out on a Limb

“A winning blend of soft-core feminism, trendy subplots, and a completely irreverent style that characterizes both the series and the sleuth.”—Houston Chronicle

“A wildly entertaining series.”—Mystery Scene

“Joan Hess is one of the best mystery writers in the world. She makes it look so easy that few readers and fewer critics realize what a rare talent hers is.”—Elizabeth Peters, author of Tomb of the Golden Bird

“Joan Hess is seriously funny. Moreover, she is seriously kind as well as clever when depicting the follies, foibles, and fantasies of our lives. Viva Joan!”—Carolyn Hart, author of Dead Days of Summer

“Fresh and funny…her trademark humor is stamped on every page.”—Publishers Weekly, on The Goodbye Body

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Joan Hess

  • JOAN HESS is the author of both the Claire Malloy and the Arly Hanks (Maggody) mystery series. She is a winner of the American Mystery Award, a member of Sisters in Crime, and a former president of the American Crime Writers League. She lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

  • Joan Hess Photo: Charles E. Roberts


Available Formats and Book Details

The Merry Wives of Maggody

An Arly Hanks Mystery

Arly Hanks Mystery

Joan Hess



Minotaur Books