gilt by association
4.5 stars

 Publisher: Between training her new puppy, helping her sister with her baby, and searching for the perfect vintage dress for Kismet’s Valentine’s Day dance, home-stager Caprice De Luca has a lot on her to-do list. But she’s never too busy to do a little staging, and she’s looking forward to thawing February’s frozen real estate market with her Hearts and Flowers Open House. Her client Louise Downing’s romantically decorated home practically staged itself. But when Louise is found murdered, Caprice is forced to turn her attention from sweethearts to suspects. And as the truth comes out in stages, she discovers that Louise had more secrets than a box of chocolate truffles. . .
My Review: Once again, I followed the clues with Caprice and could not wait to find out who done it. This is the third book in the Caprice De Luca Mystery series and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
In this outing Caprice’s mother’s best friend, Louise, is found murdered while she is staging her house. Caprice finds the body and is so upset, she really does not look at the clues of the scene. At her mother’s request, Caprice looks into the case. There are various suspects, the cheating husband, the fired housekeeper, the mistress or possibly others. Maybe it was a robbery gone bad? As Caprice investigates, again finding information the police miss, it turns out Louise has a secret past, a complicated marriage, and more enemies than one might think. I had several suspects that I was sure were guilty but everyone was wrong. I finally figured it out just before the bid reveal at the end.
On a personal note, Caprice is still struggling with her feelings for Grant and Seth. Seth is out of town and the emails seem to be slowing down, but Grant is still not making any kind of move and still is not opening up to Caprice. There is a bit of a romantic showdown in the book, but I do not want to give it away. She is trying to help her sister adjust to caring for a newborn, and training her new puppy. She is trying to help out with the Valentine fundraiser and of course finds another lost/abandoned animal.
This was a very good mystery which kept me guessing all the way to the end. I love Caprice, and her vintage clothing style, and her big heart. She’s a great amateur sleuth because she doesn’t just luck into solving the case, she actually gets out there and works to find clues. She may be a little too nosy, but she doesn’t take it too far. Of course, her sleuthing still puts her in some danger and Grant is not happy with that.
Of course the usual cast of characters make an appearance, all her siblings, her parents, her nana, the veterinarian as well as Ace, the rockstar.
I love the animal rescue storyline, and appreciate the time taken to add a few facts for readers, such as a list of what types of plants are toxic to pets, which is a great reminder we can all use. There are always recipes at the end and there is one in this book I am definitely going to try., and of course the fabulous recipe at the end.
Overall, this is a very solid and satisfying addition to the series and cozy mystery lovers will enjoy not just this book, but the whole series so far.