Caveat Emptor and Other Stories by Joan Hess

Caveat Emptor and Other Stories by Joan Hess

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Delightfully deadly short fiction from the pen of Joan Hess, creator of Maggody, Arkansas

Althea is caught in a romance writer’s worst nightmare: She’s been trapped in one of her own melodramatic creations. Around her, strapping men chase after elegant women whose bosoms heave and whose bodices beg to be ripped. There’s no television, no women’s lib, and absolutely no escape. Worst of all, Althea fits right in. Everyone recognizes her as the penniless orphan rescued from a cruel uncle by a charming nobleman. Althea would rather be dead—and if she’s lucky, she will be soon.

The creator of the Claire Malloy Mysteries, which chronicle the adventures of a bookselling sleuth, Joan Hess knows better than anyone how dangerous romance novels can be. In “Death of a Romance Writer” and the other six stories in this volume, she redefines what it means to die laughing.


“Joan Hess is the patron saint of comic mystery.” —Sharon McCrumb, author of The Rosewood Casket

“Ms. Hess displays a consistent and rare skill. . . . She plays fair; she knows exactly when to lighten the mood [and] when to spill some blood.” —David Dawson, The New York Times, on Mortal Remains in Maggody

“Hess created a gem when she invented the wacky world of Maggody, Arkansas.” —Booklist on The Maggody Militia

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