Simon & Schuster, Aug 2001, 23.00, 240 pp.
Maggody, Arkansas Chief of Police Arly Hanks feels that her current task is probably the worst assignment of her career. She, accompanied by the mayor's self-important wife Mrs. Jim Bob, despicable Preacher Brother Verber, and shop teacher Larry Joe Lambertino are chaperoning teens at the Camp Pearly Gates. The teens are a tough enough crowd, but her companions make for a long weekend.
All that becomes moot when one of the kids finds a corpse of a woman. The victim turns out to be a member of the Moonbeam sect, a bunch of space cadets who refuse to cooperate with Arly on the investigation. To make matters even more pressing, a local person is missing and though probably safe could be a second victim. Then there is the usual demands of her position involving pigs, family members, and a suspect who seems to spend more time out of jail than in a cell.
The latest tale in the long running Maggody mystery series, MAGGODY AND THE MOONBEAMS, retains its freshness, something not usually seen by book fourteen. The story line is light, but quite amusing as readers watch beleaguered but competent Arly deal with a crowd of misfits. In some ways this tale satirizes its own series and other regional who-done-its, but does so in a kind reverent manner as Joan Hess provide her audience with a fun to read tale in which the laughs keep on coming.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner