Joan Hess

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Joan Hess (born 1949) is an American mystery writer, the author of two popular mystery series: The Claire Malloy Mysteries and The Maggody Mysteries (also called The Arly Hanks Mysteries).

The Claire Malloy series is set in Farberville, Arkansas, and centers around Claire Malloy, who owns a small bookstore across from the campus of Farberville College. It has been suggested that Farberville is a stand-in for Fayetteville, Arkansas, with many landmarks, including the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, Dickson Street, and even well-known local citizens, thinly veiled in the prose.

The Arly Hanks series is set in Maggody, Arkansas, population 755. The main character is Arly Hanks, Maggody's irreverent young female police chief. The first book of the Arly Hanks series, Malice in Maggody, was the basis for the 1993 CBS television pilot Arly Hanks.[1]

Hess has been nominated for the Agatha Award five times, and won once, for her 1990 short story "Too Much to Bare".[2]

A longtime resident of Fayetteville, Arkansas, Hess now lives in Austin, Texas.[3]



Claire Malloy series[Notes 1]
  1. Strangled Prose
  2. The Murder at The Murder at the Mimosa Inn
  3. Dear Miss Demeanor
  4. A Really Cute Corpse
  5. A Diet to Die For
  6. Roll Over and Play Dead
  7. Death by the Light of the Moon
  8. Poisoned Pins
  9. Tickled to Death
  10. Closely Akin to Murder
  11. Busy Bodies
  12. A Holly, Jolly Murder
  13. A Conventional Corpse
  14. Out on a Limb
  15. The Goodbye Body
  16. Damsels in Distress
  17. Mummy Dearest
  18. Deader Homes and Gardens
  19. Murder as a Second Language
  20. Pride v. Prejudice
Maggody series[Notes 2]
  1. Malice in Maggody
  2. Mischief in Maggody
  3. Much Ado in Maggody
  4. Madness in Maggody
  5. Mortal Remains in Maggody
  6. Maggody in Manhattan
  7. O Little Town of Maggody
  8. Martians in Maggody
  9. Miracles in Maggody
  10. The Maggody Militia
  11. Misery Loves Maggody
  13. Maggody and the Moonbeams
  14. Muletrain to Maggody
  15. Malpractice in Maggody
  16. The Merry Wives of Maggody

Short stories[edit]

  • "Too Much to Bare" (1990) in Wallace, Marilyn, ed. Sisters in Crime 2. Berkley. ISBN 9780425119662.
  • "The Last to Know" (1992) in Greenberg, Martin, ed. Malice Domestic #1. Pocket Books. ISBN 9780671738266.


  1. ^ Numbers are those assigned by MacMillan publishers in their latest release of these books, and do not necessarily reflect the order of first publication.
  2. ^ The Maggody books are listed in reading order.


  1. ^ "Q&A: Your questions". Dallas Morning News. 11 September 1994. 
  2. ^ "Agatha Awards Past Winners". Malice Domestic. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  3. ^ "Joan Hess". Macmillan.