When Sarah Winston started the virtual garage sale, it seemed like a keystroke of genius and the next logical step in her business. No more collapsing card tables and rainy-day washouts. But what began as a fun way to run garage sales during the long New England winter has become a nightmare of managing people and putting out fires. Online, she can avoid the crowds--but not the crazies.
May Be Her Last
She certainly never bargained on dealing with frightening threats. And when a client is murdered, it's time for Sarah to swallow her pride and seek the help of her ex--C.J. Hooker, chief of police. Forging a tense alliance, they search--online and off--for the killer. But solving this crime before someone else gets tagged seems virtually impossible…
- Thrift Shop by Macklemore
Sherry Harris, an Air Force spouse, set the Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery series in the fictional town of Ellington, Massachusetts, near the fictional Finch Air Force Base. These locales are based on Bedford, Massachusetts, and Hanscom AFB. Sherry's spouse was assigned to this small base in the cradle of the American Revolution ... and Hanscom AFB was my first assignment.
Sarah Winston is a capable military spouse herself. Actually, she's divorced from her husband, CJ Hooker, the former commander of the Security Forces (military police). Their divorce, his retirement, and her move off base played out in TAGGED FOR DEATH, Book 1 in the series. Once a military spouse, always a military spouse. Military spouses learn to be thrifty, flexible, and diplomatic. In ALL MURDERS FINAL!, Book 3 in the series, Sarah draws upon those attributes she gained as a military spouse to kick start her new career - garage sale adviser. Alas, garage sales are not feasible during a Massachusetts winter ... so Sarah creates a virtual garage sale site for the local denizens to buy and sell according to their New England thriftiness.
Sarah's success is met with complaints from buyers (who are outbid), sellers (when buyers pick up without payment), and a consignment store owner (who is loosing business to the site). These issues are nothing compared to Sarah finding the reigning matron dead after arguing online with her over the sale of a vintage tablecloth. Sarah sets out to clear her name and her business ... with a fluffernutter sandwich in hand!
ALL MURDERS FINAL explores life in a historic New England town where the residents struggle to keep up with the high cost of living. I appreciated Harris incorporating local traditions - wine from the packy! - along with the pursuit of a bargain in the digital age. Harris adds depth with Sarah's struggle to reconcile her feelings for her ex husband (based on sweet memories) and the very single district attorney (based on rebound fun). The creme de la creme was Mike the Big Cheese, a secondary character who hints at another mystery altogether. I hope to see Mike (and his cheese) in future books. I stayed up too late to finish ALL MURDERS FINAL! - I could not put this book down. I felt as though I was back at Hanscom Air Force Base, soaking up the history along the Freedom Trail.
I read the series in the following order: Book 2, Book 1, and Book 3. Harris takes the time to provide just enough backstory for readers to jump into the series with any book. And what a fun jump it would be!
I recommend this book to fans of cozy mysteries, New England, and bargain hunting.
Image by Jot Powers (link)
I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway,
1. Leave a comment about an unusual food from your area. As mentioned above, Sarah enjoys the fluffernutter sandwich - a New England classic made of white bread, marshmallow fluff, and peanut butter.
2. Comments are open through Saturday, June 25, 10 pm in Baltimore.
3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, June 26.
Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City
Learn more about Sherry and her books, including her Friday Finds, at sherryharrisauthor.com.