No doubt about it, local gossips had finally gotten something right: a maniac was loose in Maggody Arkansas ( pop. 755). So Chief of Police Ariel " Arly " Hanks, a.k.a. the local girl who id never make good in New York City and came home to lick her wounds, is back in action. Someone sabotaged the grand opening of Jim Bob 's Supersaver Buy 4 Less with tainted tamale sauce and straight pins in the cupcakes. Now Arly 's got 23 cases of food poisoning and a whole passel of suspects who want Jim Bob 's store to go belly up, including her very own mother, Ruby Bee. What Arly does n't have is an inkling of the other high crimes and misdemeanors about to be committed in a Maggody gone bonkers: sex scandals, scams .... and very sudden death.