Even though she was offered a nice lump sum for her antiques, Alice Krandle believes she can make more money by selling them individually through Sarah Winston's garage sale services. Sarah happily takes on the task, but while she's in the midst of pricing each item for sale, her best friend, Stella, is kidnapped.
She's given a long set of instructions, with not talking to her district attorney boyfriend or her friends on the police force right at the top, so Sarah's only source of help is her new friend Harriet-- who happens to be a former FBI hostage negotiator.
Even though she's alienating those nearest and dearest to her, Sarah has no choice but to keep them out of the loop if she wants to save her friend's life.
Wow! In Absence of Alice, Sherry Harris takes the standard framework of a cozy and turns it on its head, making it one of the best books I've read this year. Harris's Garage Sale series has become one of my go-to cozy series because of her cast of characters, her nuggets of garage sale information, and her intriguing mysteries, but this one is on a whole new level. I don't expect edge-of-your-seat suspense and tension when I read a cozy, but it's certainly front and center in Absence of Alice. I was genuinely worried about what was going to happen to Sarah's friend Stella. The kidnapper seemed to know everything Sarah did and everyone she spoke to, and Sarah's emotions at not being able to confide in her nearest and dearest touched my heart.
I was so happy to see that my wish came true after reading the previous book in the series, Sell Low, Sweet Harriet. I wanted more of Harriet, and I got it in Absence of Alice. And-- wonder of wonders-- Harris managed to distract me enough that when the kidnapper's identity was revealed, I was totally gobsmacked. That very seldom ever happens, so I'm always thrilled when it does.
Author Sherry Harris stretches the limits of the typical cozy mystery by putting her main character in an extraordinary position and making her fight her way to the conclusion, but she still remains true to the form. My eyes even welled with (happy) tears at the end, so be forewarned and have tissues handy. Don't worry if you haven't read a Sarah Winston Garage Sale mystery before. Harris gives you the information you need to keep up with the story and let me tell you, this is a story that I don't want you to miss!
Absence of Alice by Sherry Harris
Kensington Books © 2020
eBook, 288 pages
Cozy Mystery, #9 Sarah Winston Garage Sale mystery
Source: Net Galley