Simon & Schuster, Feb 2004, 23.00, 278 pp.
Three days before the Battle of Farbersville in Arkansas during the Civil War, there was a skirmish in the small town of Maggody. The Stump County Historical Society has obtained funding to do a documentary on the battle thanks to the donation of the diary of one of the men who fought in that encounter. The diary goes on to say that the confederate troops were carrying gold to pay the soldiers, but when they concluded that they were going to lose, the soldiers hid it in a nearby cove.
The townsfolk go crazy looking for the gold and Chief of Police Arly Hanks has her hands full keeping track of everybody. The treasurer of the historical society Wendell thinks he has a clue where the gold was hidden but he is more interested in his genealogical studies than a treasure hunt. Matters turn very serious when someone kills Wendell. Arly investigates the homicide with plethora of suspects available. A second killing occurs. Once Arly realizes the two homicides are linked, it is only a matter of time before she tracks down the killer.
An Arly Hanks mystery is always a hoot and a holler and MULETRAIN TO MAGGODY is no different. Despite the seriousness of the murders, the storyline focuses on the gold hunt. The characters are funny as they try to outdo each other in searching for the gold while Arly has her hands full keeping everyone in line Joan Hess is in fine form as she produces another extra fine rural police procedural.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner