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Death of a Garage Sale Newbie    by Sharon Dunn order for
Death of a Garage Sale Newbie
by Sharon Dunn
Order:  USA  Can
Multnomah, 2007 (2007)

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* *   Reviewed by Jessica Weaver

It's an ordinary Saturday morning and most people in Three Horses, Montana, are snuggled in their beds or enjoying a leisurely cup of coffee. Not Ginger, Suzanne, Kindra, and Mary Margret, though. The four members of the Bargain Hunters Network are doing what they do every Saturday at the crack of dawn: hitting up yard sales.

When they all convene at Mary Margret's house that afternoon, however, there's definitely something wrong: the hostess is missing, her items in slight disarray. Ginger goes home to find two messages from her best friend on her answering machine. Mary Margret had discovered something from the past that was getting her into an awful lot of trouble. Before the night is over, the ladies have convened again, this time at the police station. Mary Margret has been found dead, an arrow through her back, near an archery practice area. It is quickly deemed an accident by the police chief.

Neither the Bargain Hunters nor Tammy Welstad, the police officer who broke the news, thinks it is an accident. The snooping ensues as the three remaining Bargain Hunters desperately try to figure out the clues Mary Margret left from her garage sales that morning: a child's fishing pole, a photo album, a hunting vest, and a box covered with shells.

I found the mystery a little hard to get into. It is longer that most cozy mysteries and thus the author has more time to expand on characters - lots and lots of characters! By the time the mystery is unveiled my head was spinning over who was who. The main characters, however, are very loveable and easy to relate to. They span all ages - Ginger is a late fifties grandma; Suzanne a mother of three with one more about ready to burst out; and nineteen-year-old Kindra is a student at the local college. All the main characters are Christian and the novel is sprinkled with their short prayers, although the faith element is not played heavily.

What gave the novel the most depth was the backstory of Ginger and Earl's marriage and how they struggled to relate to each other in their retirement. I think that story will hit home with many readers and makes Ginger very real. All in all, Death of a Garage Sale Newbie is an enjoyable though complex mystery - all the more fun if you, like Ginger, Suzanne, and Kindra, love a good deal at the mall.

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