Select one of the keywords
Muletrain to Maggody: An Arly Hanks Mystery    by Joan Hess order for
Muletrain to Maggody
by Joan Hess
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2004 (2004)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Anise Hollingshead

Fresh from their encounter with the Moonbeams cult last summer, the inhabitants of Maggody, Arkansas, have hunkered down and gotten back to the basics of life in any backwater Southern town. That is, drinking beer, watching football on their big screen TVs in their little mobile homes, raising Cain at the local bar on Saturday night, and amening the preacher Sunday morning. Life is serene, that is until the Civil War reenactors show up ...

A historical society has obtained a diary detailing an account of a small unit involved in a little-known skirmish during the Civil War. The only survivor described in his diary how the unit hid some money in a cave on Cotter's Ridge when it appeared they were going to be attacked, and the money has been lost ever since. The historical society is preparing to film a documentary, and has recruited several Civil War reenactors to simulate the battle. Ostensibly there to film, many of these participants find time to do a little communing with nature on Cotter's Ridge, jockeying for space with some of the more colorful citizens of Maggody, who are also very interested in the great outdoors all of a sudden. Soon after the treasure hunt commences, dead bodies begin to turn up and it's another Maggody mystery for our favorite female Southern sheriff, Arly Hanks.

As always in this series, the mystery revolves around southern humor. Moonshine, pet pigs, intermarriage, Southern Baptists and trailer parks are recurring themes, with the addition of the Civil War to liven things up even more this time. As a bona-fide southern girl from Alabama, I always enjoy Joan Hess's offerings. She's adept at poking fun at the South with pointed humor, but she never does so in a heavy-handed fashion. While not meant to be anything other than light reading, this is one of the author's better Maggody books. It's well-plotted, and interesting. Particularly entertaining episodes involve the mayor's wife Mrs. Jim Bob, more sympathetically portrayed than usual as she struggles to entertain an ever-growing crowd of guests in her medium-sized suburban home. I enjoyed Muletrain to Maggody, and imagine that most other mystery buffs will as well.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Mystery books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews