I truly hate to be the bearer of this very sad news. For those of us who have delighted at the antics of the Maggody gang, who Arly Hanks has to work so hard to keep in line, Joan Hess’s passing a few days ago is very sad indeed. Several Cozy Mystery readers wrote to tell me about her passing, and I have found a few sources on the web that have also reported this awful news.
Joan Hess set both her Maggody and Claire Malloy series – which both feature strong women sleuths – in Arkansas, which makes sense since Hess was an Arkansan. I started enjoying Hess’s Maggody gang back in the late 1980s. When I later started reading Hess’s Claire Malloy series, I saw what a gifted author she was to have two such strong mystery series. So gifted in fact, that she was chosen to finish Elizabeth Peter’s last Amelia Peabody mystery book.
Joan Hess will be very much missed by many of us who spent hours with both Arly and Claire – as they sleuthed their ways into our hearts.
Kirsten Ross-Pedersen says
Such sad news. Her series were two of my favourites. I recently read the Amelia Peabody book and it was seamless. You can’t tell it wasn’t all written by Elizabeth Peters at all.
This saddens me so much. I just read the last Amelia Peobody book and thought she did an amazing job. I will miss her feisty heroines. RIP Ms Hess.
Jan S says
I loved Maggody and all of the occupants . They were a few cozies that my husband enjoyed also. I also enjoyed the Claire Malloy mysteries. My sympathies to her family and friends. I also extend my sympathies to my fellow readers of this talented lady. We will miss her so much.
Becky B. says
I’m a home-grown Arkansan, and Joan Hess holds a special place in my heart. I recognized the places she wrote about, especially Faberville, and have run into some of her characters at my neighborhood Walmart. God bless you, Joan. You made us Arkies laugh at ourselves and feelgood about doing it.
Tina Kashian says
This is sad news indeed. Thank you for sharing.
Mary McMains says
NO!!! I loved the Maggody books. they were all laugh out loud funny with the craziest bunch of people ever assembled. I will truly miss this wonderful author who gave me such joy and laughter. She will be so badly missed. I hope her family knows how very much she was and is loved.
Karen Simpson says
I am so so sorry to hear this…I have laughed and laughed at KAREN of the capital letters for so many years. I hope she knew how much we all enjoyed her writing…
Joan Hess was an excellent author. Both the Maggody and Claire Malloy series made me giggle out loud. She will be missed.
I am so sad to hear this. I have also enjoyed both those series through the years.
Rest you gentle, dear Lady, dream you deep. You live through your books and in our hearts forever.
Judith BAtes says
May Joan Hess RIP! I have enjoyed her mysteries over the years.
Rob Jarrad says
Thanks, Danna for telling me. I just lost my dad before Thanksgiving so I can understand her family’s pain. I took care of dad for 12 years after my mom died. I’ll miss him everyday.
I loved the Maggody series and read every one. I will miss Joan as a gifted author. Her devoted readership will as well.
Danna - cozy mystery list says
Rob, I’m very sorry to hear about your dad. I know how difficult it is to lose a loved one. You will be in my thoughts.
Debi Jarrrell says
Goodness! This was certainly sad news to hear. I have just begun to re-read the Maggody series. I laughed so much about the Buchannons. I’m going to miss Joan and her cast of characters.
Cheri coley says
Loved her books! I live in the same town she lived in for awhile. She frequented a restaurant my husband worked at. He would call me when she came in. I would take a couple of her books and get her to sign them. She will be missed.
What a talented writer Joan Hess was. I’m grieved to think there will never be another Maggody mystery. Thank you for sharing this sad news.
deb b says
I read all the books in both series, thanks to a neighbor, all those years ago. She would only let me borrow one book at a time as she loved them and wanted to hang on to them. (How many of us have lent out a book only to have it never return?) I’ve since started my own collection and have been reading them one by one with my husband. We take turns reading, laughing and still get a kick out of Claire’s daughter speaking in CAPITAL LETTERS long before texts and emails.
Donna H. says
Oh, no. The end of an era. She was my very first cozy author. So sad.
Melanie Sablosky says
Such sad news. Her books were among the first cosy’s I read. I enjoyed her writing so much, I even tracked down the “Theo Bloomer” series, written under Joan Hadley.
RIP Ms Hess, you will be missed.
Margaret StashEmpress says
Such sad news! I loved both of her series for so many many years. And unlike so many long running series, hers never got stale or lost their flavor. I think there was also another series she wrote many years ago — under the name Joan Hadley — featuring retired florist Theo Bloomer — I discovered them only fairly recently — I think perhaps there were only 2 titles in that series? But I really enjoyed them & wish there had been more! (Ok, just looked them up — The Night-Blooming Cereus and The Deadly Ackee and they are both now selling with Joan Hess’ name and “written as” Joan Hadley)
I live in Arkansas, know that Farberville is Fayetteville, have raised a KAREN, and love to read. I’m not sure what little town Maggody was used as her inspiration but every time I re-read one of the books , I’m amazed she didn’t get tared and feathered! I hope that is because we can laugh at ourselves and not because we were tickled to see some of our “relatives” in all of their glory . Seriously, we aren’t all like that! Love all of her books and am so sad we won’t have anymore Maggody books.