Joan Hess is an American mystery writer, the author of two popular mystery series: The Claire Malloy Mysteries and The Maggody 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.
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.
Hess has been nominated for the Agatha Award five times, and won once, for her 1990 short story "Too Much to Bare".
A longtime resident of Fayetteville, Arkansas, Hess now lives in Austin, Texas.