by Cynthia Chow
& Sherry Harris
This week we have a review & giveaway of a fun Garage Sale mystery by Sherry Harris, along with a fun guest post about garage sales from Sherry. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the All Murders Final!, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.
All Murders Final!: A Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery By Sherry Harris
Review by Cynthia Chow
As great as the internet can be, it has its downside. A virtual garage sale, where sellers and buyers conduct their business through a closed web group, was in theory a great idea. Unfortunately, it also opens the door to exploitation and corruption, as the web site owner Sarah Winston soon learns. Complaints about failed payments and unhappy bidders pale in comparison to Sarah’s discovery of Margaret More, dead in her car with a tablecloth stuffed in her mouth. The fact that Sarah had the night before argued with Margaret online over the tablecloth only makes Sarah’s situation more precarious, especially considering that her ex-husband is Ellington, Massachusetts’ current chief of police.
The darker side of the internet continues with PopIt pictures that suddenly appear and disappear off of Sarah’s phone, showing her at moments throughout the day. Sarah’s reluctance to open up her life to her ex, as well as gossip implicating her in the death of such a prominent resident, have Sarah intent on clearing her reputation, figuring out if she has a stalker, and uncovering a murderer. Margaret may have been a philanthropist, but many believed that her gifts came with strings attached. Oddly enough, a mobster moving in as her new next-door neighbor proves to be surprisingly comforting, while dating a District Attorney and still having feelings for her ex-husband the police chief do not. Sarah and her ex CJ are taking a break to allow her to breathe, while attorney Seth Anderson, Massachusetts’ Most Eligible Bachelor, is proving to be as intoxicating as he is complicated.
This third book in the A Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery series continues to feature the voice of a strong, very intelligent, and always witty lead heroine. Even though one might question Sarah’s reluctance to report incidents of cyber stalking, her confusion over the state of her relationship with CJ makes it understandable. Author Sherry Harris succeeds in incorporating very timely, serious themes into the novel without distracting one bit from the thoroughly entertaining humor and dialogue. While I thought that I had the culprit easily identified, the conclusion proved just how cleverly misleading Harris could be. The romantic subplot only enhances the novel, as the allure of a new relationship fueled by attraction rivals one based on strong feelings and history but is tainted with mistrust. The writing has grown stronger with each installment, and this latest in the series proves to be as enjoyable as it is satisfying for readers looking for novels with romance, suspense, and even helpful bargain hunting advice.
By Sherry Harris
Someone recently asked me how I became an expert in yard sales. I was taken aback! Me? An expert? As I thought about it, I realized I have been sharing a lot of my knowledge about yard sales in the Sarah Winston Garage Sale series. Oddly, it’s knowledge I didn’t even know I was carrying around in my head. And if I am truthful, nothing I ever thought I’d write about. But through a series of fortunate events, I get to write this series and call going to yard sales research!
So how did I become an ‘expert’? Years of going to garage sales that started in elementary school at the home of my best friend. I had no idea you could sell used things. My parents haven’t ever had a garage sale, and I can only think of one time that they went to one. Their friend’s mother was holding one, and they bought her dining room table and chairs for $60. I’m still using the set today. But somehow that early experience embedded itself in my head, and I’ve loved garage sales since.
Throwing yard sales is hard work! Pricing can take forever and it can be difficult to price things correctly. If it’s too cheap, you can’t bargain, and trust me people who go to yard sales want to bargain. If you ask too much people walk away. Lump like things together whenever possible — all hardback books $1 — it saves time pricing. Take time to arrange things and make sure they look good. Don’t think it has to look like garage sales do on TV or in magazines, but don’t just dump it all on a tarp on the driveway either. One great tip I heard was to have a garage sale around pay day.
Going to yard sales is fun! You never know what you will find. Sometimes I go out looking for something specific. I’m still trying to find vintage Jonathan Adler plates for a friend. Another friend has me looking for old Barbie dolls. More often I go out looking for things I collect: vintage tablecloths, cobalt glass, and vintage postcards. Of course I’m always open to that perfect, unexpected find. A couple of weekends ago while I was at a yard sale, I glanced down and saw a wooden dumbbell. The wood was beautiful and something about its shape just spoke to me. It’s now sitting on my mantle.
Be respectful when bargaining whether you are the buyer or seller. I don’t have a set amount that I’m willing to take off as a seller or offer as a buyer. Usually, at a garage sale (rules of thumb vary at antique stores, flea markets, and estate sales) I’ll offer half of what the item is priced. That allows both of us wiggle room to bargain and to walk away feeling satisfied with the final result. The wooden dumbbell I bought was marked $2. The price seemed reasonable so I didn’t ask for anything more off. When I came home and looked them up on eBay, I’d found I’d gotten quite the bargain.
My final bit of advice — the early bird has the biggest selection but not the best price. Go forth and have fun out there!
To enter to win a copy of All Murders Final!, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “final,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 2, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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