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Misery Loves Maggody    by Joan Hess order for
Misery Loves Maggody
by Joan Hess
Order:  USA  Can
Pocket, 2000 (1999)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* *   Reviewed by Theresa Ichino

If you haven't yet discovered Joan Hess's mystery series, I envy you the treat to come. Maggody, Arkansas (described by the main character as a 'fly splat on the map') has an immensely rich diversity of zany characters, as well as one of the highest crime rates in fiction. Sheriff Arly Hanks is one of Maggody's few earth-bound residents. Her search for a peaceful life after an ugly divorce is constantly stymied, not only by her mother Ruby Bee, but by other inhabitants of Maggody, whose antics enliven these well-crafted mysteries.

In Misery Loves Maggody, Hess effortlessly juggles two story lines, resolving all questions in 288 pages of non-stop fun. Her deftly drawn characters are the main attraction, of course - one picks up a new Maggody mystery principally to find out what Maggody's delightfully lunatical citizens are up to now. The on-going saga of Kevin and Dahlia's romance, for example, rivals any study of courtship in the wild.

In this novel, Arly is assisting in a major drug bust, while fending off Kevin's frantic pleas for her to find out just where Dahlia disappears to, plus dealing with Ruby Bee's mysterious collapse during a tour to Graceland. Finally, all is explained, since Hess is meticulous about clearing up all those pesky little loose ends that so often exist at the conclusion of a story

Misery Loves Maggody is a wonderful read, like its predecessors in the series. Enjoy!

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