Staged to deathby Karen Rose Smith

4.5 Stars

Publisher: Cozy mystery, Book 1 in the Caprice DeLuca home-stager mystery series
Caprice DeLuca stages houses for high-end clients. When she discovers a body in the castle-mansion she staged to sell and starts asking questions, she finds herself in danger. On the way to solving the murder, Caprice’s large Italian family helps and hinders. She also finds romance with Dr. Seth Randolph. But does her brother’s partner, attorney Grant Weatherford, care about her, too? Or is he just worried she’ll get herself killed and her family will blame him?

My Review: This is also a new series to me, although there are now four in this series. If the rest are as enjoyable as this one, I will definitely follow the exploits of Caprice DeLuca and her family and friends for many more entertaining hours.

Caprice DeLuca is a home stager. She tries to work for clients with high end homes for sale. When Roz, a childhood friend of Caprice’s, and her husband, Ted, decided too sell their spacious castle style home, Caprice is hired to do a ‘staging’ to help the property sell. Although they remove many things from the home before the Open House, Ted refuses to remove his collection of swords and daggers. During the Open House, Ted catches Ted in a compromising situation with Valerie, a local hair stylist. Before she has a chance to tell Roz what she saw, she and Roz discover Ted murdered with his own dagger. Of course, suspicions fall on Roz, the spouse who inherits everything as well as being the beneficiary of a healthy life insurance policy. Caprice is convinced her friend did not kill her husband despite the fact he was having an affair. So, before Roz can be arrested for a crime she did not commit, Caprice decides to do a little detective work on her own. Naturally, this is very dangerous and Caprice could find herself being the next murder victim. It seems there are any number of people who might want Ted dead, including some laid off employees, their local gardener as well as others at PA Pharm where he worked.

Roz needs a lawyer, but does not want someone she does not know. Caprice tries to get i contact with her brother, but ends up getting his partner, Grant to help out. At one time, Caprice has feelings for Grant, but they lost touch and he married someone else. He is now divorced as well as being a grieving father after the death of their child and is back in Kismet. There is definitely some tension between these two characters. Caprice is also just starting a relationship with Seth, the new doctor in town, so there might be a triangle coming in the next book.

The Deluca family are a great group of characters. They cook, love one another, get in each other’s business, spend a lot of time together and are the epitome of the traditional Italian family. You couldn’t find a better friend in Caprice and her instincts for detective work are above average, but she does put herself in dangerous positions, so I could understand her family having concerns. Of course there are animals in this book, Caprice takes in strays and finds them home so another endearing quality is there.

The book has everything you would expect in a cozy mystery: a little violence or murder, some sexual tension, some romance, pets, food and family. The story was light and easy to read with a compelling mystery, appealing characters, and some awesome recipes added at the end. This was a very enjoyable read.

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