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A Laura Bishop Mystery #1

Staging is Murder

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Laura Bishop just nabbed her first decorating commission—staging for sale a 19th century mansion that hasn’t been updated for decades. But when a body falls from a laundry chute and lands at Laura’s feet, removing flowered wallpaper becomes the least of her duties.

To clear her young assistant of the murder and save her fledgling business, Laura’s determined to find the killer. Turns out it’s not as easy as renovating a manor home, especially with two handsome men complicating her mission: the police detective assigned to the case and the real estate agent trying to save the manse from foreclosure.

Worse still, the meddling of a horoscope-guided friend, a determined grandmother, and the local funeral director could get them all killed before Laura props the first pillow.

262 pages, Paperback

First published April 30, 2019

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Grace Topping

5 books128 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 82 reviews
Profile Image for Christopher.
215 reviews167 followers
April 13, 2020
Laura Bishop has landed the perfect job to jumpstart her new home staging career— an aging mansion that needs to sell fast. But before she can even change a curtain, the body of the owner comes tumbling down the laundry chute. With the police suspecting her assistant, Tyrone, of murder, it’s up to Laura to clear his name.

Some cozies are so well-constructed and satisfying that the obvious craft behind them is almost as entertaining as the book itself. That’s the case with author Grace Topping’s first novel in the Laura Bishop Mystery series. It opens with an explosive scene— the body of Laura’s boss, Victoria, comes hurtling down a laundry chute. It’s both surprising and unique, setting the tone for the careful chain of clues, red herrings, suspects, and sleuthing that Topping follows with.

But all of this would be for nothing if Topping didn’t populate her world with such a compelling heroine. Fortunately, Laura is an intriguing narrator, though a reluctant investigator. However, the pull of knowing Tyrone is innocent and some prodding from his grandmother, Mrs. Webster, leads her to get involved. This keeps Laura grounded, stopping her from making mindless choices. She’s not interfering just to interfere— her sense of loyalty drives her.

Of course, no cozy would be complete without an irresistible cast of secondary characters. Topping does not disappoint in the slightest. Laura’s best friend, Nita, is horoscope obsessed, dishing out cryptic warnings. Mrs. Webster offers up comfort food and a strong spirit. Then there are a couple of handsome men, though Laura has a strict code against trusting good-looking guys. And even Victoria proves a ghastly victim. It’s a well-populated, realistic cast.

Between a solid mystery, engaging characters, and a relatable sleuth, Topping has masterminded a strong start to a new series.

Note: I received a free ARC of this book through Edelweiss.

Review also posted at www.pluckedfromthestacks.wordpress.com/
Profile Image for Chatting About Cozies.
1,139 reviews48 followers
March 12, 2019
Author Grace Topping debuts nicely with her Laura Bishop Mystery series from Henery Press. This cozy is a light read with lots of plausible suspect’s and a killer who was cleverly snuck into the plot and never even on my radar! There are plenty of chuckles along the route to the satisfying conclusion.

Protagonist Laura Bishop is a beginner in the home staging business and her very first client, Victoria Denton, is a doozy! Nita, Laura’s best friend, has a huge Italian-American family who embrace Laura as family, also, and they are a delightful bunch and a great help to her. The supporting cast is great and I look forward to learning more about them in future stories. Laura’s rescue cat, Inky, is a comforting and precious pet character. I enjoyed the tips for staging your home for an open house that the author shares at the first of each chapter. I feel this new series is off to a great start!

Thanks to the author for providing an ARC galley for my honest review.
Profile Image for Mark Baker.
2,037 reviews148 followers
April 30, 2019
Laura Bishop is just getting her home staging business off the ground, and she is thrilled to land Victoria Denton as her first client. Victoria can make her reputation in their small Pennsylvania town. Unfortunately, Victoria also has a reputation for being hard to work with, and Laura is finding that all too true. Working late one night, Laura is shocked to find Victoria’s dead body. When the police arrest Laura’s assistant, she decides she needs to look into the crime to find out what really happened. But can she do it?

Since this is the first in a new series, we get to meet quite a few new characters here. I enjoyed Laura and her friends, although they do have a little room to grow as the series progresses. The plot starts off strong, but bogs down a bit as Laura struggles to figure out how to start her investigation. Not that I can say much since I identify with her struggle. Once she gets moving, thanks in part to some blunt questions from her friends (again, too much like me), the story picks up and I was fully on board. The climax was creative and answered all our questions. Laura is a mystery fan herself, and I enjoyed her comparing herself to the main characters in the books she’s read. Each chapter starts with tips on staging your home, and they made me very thankful that I am not planning on selling my condo any time soon due to all the work involved. I’ll just enjoy reading about Laura’s efforts to stage houses and solve mysteries.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

Read my full review at Carstairs Considers.
Profile Image for LORI CASWELL.
2,379 reviews270 followers
May 18, 2019
Dollycas’s Thoughts

Grace Topping starts this book/series out with a big thump. While curbing the clutter in the huge 19th-century mansion, her protagonist Laura Bishop heads to the cellar with a box only to have her client’s body fall from the laundry chute right at her feet. Victoria Denton was difficult but who would have done such a thing?

The police decide Laura’s assistant, Tyrone is their prime suspect. He accidentally broke a vase sending Ms. Denton into a tizzy. She also is on the committee holding Tyrone’s fate in her hands as he waits to hear if he will be awarded a college scholarship. The woman threatened to basically blackball him everywhere and police assume he retaliated. Laura defends the young man but when his grandmother begs for her help she knows she has to do more. Detective Alex Spangler thinks he has his man so Laura grabs her friend Nita Marino and tries to use all the knowledge she has gleaned from reading cozy mysteries to start investigating.

There are such strong characters in this debut. Laura Bishop has left her IT career behind and opened her own business staging homes to help home sellers get the best price and the quickest sale of their homes. She is also new to investigating and admits it which was a big plus for me. She is a very kind person and for the most part, makes really good decisions. Her best friend Nita is the Watson to Laura’s Holmes and they make a good team. The character I liked best was Tyrone. He’s a college student studying design and clearly has talent. He is a hard worker. He has 3 jobs earning money both for school and to help his grandmother. He has such a positive attitude even when things are going wrong. Even behind bars, he was a breath of fresh air. I also loved meeting Inky, Laura’s rescue kitty.

The story flowed well for me. There are several suspects and some great twists. Tossing the victim down the laundry chute was a bit eerie. I love big old homes that have them. My aunt had one in her newer home but the opening was nowhere near large enough to stuff a body through. I enjoyed following along with Laura and her investigation while she continued to work on the mansion to get it ready for an open house. The mansion needed a lot of help and I was surprised by all Laura did with the help of so few people. The author found a nice balance between solving the mystery and everyday life. Humor was also incorporated in a very thoughtful way.

Each chapter starts with a staging tip and the staging theme was super interesting to me. Not that I’ll ever need to stage a home, but several tips made sense to brighten up the home I have.

This series is off to a great start. The characters have plenty of room to grow. The theme provides endless possibilities. I am really looking forward to book #2.
Profile Image for Betty.
2,006 reviews50 followers
April 30, 2019
The first book in a new book on a house decorating theme and a new author for me. It was slow getting starting as the background for the series was set but I found I didn't want to set it down. It is written a single person view. I felt the characters needed additional development. The writing flows easy and descriptions place you right there. There are usually events I felt were creative one that caught my attention one is that the victim sent down the laundry chute to the protagonist.
Laura Bishop has opened a shop for staging houses for sale. Her first case is staging a Victorian mansion for a forced sale. It needs major revisions and she must work around Victoria Denton, one of the owners of the mansion who is extremely a difficult person with which to work. One a day working in the basement the Victoria arrives there via the laundry chute. She is dead and has been MURDER. The police focus on Laura assistant because the Victoria fired him that day. Laura decides to explore the case in order to CLEAR his name. I highly recommend this book.

Disclosure: Thanks to Henery Press for a copy through NetGalley. The opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Kristina.
3,392 reviews59 followers
May 4, 2019
Staging is Murder by Grace Topping takes us to Louiston, Pennsylvania. Laura Bishop has quit her boring job in IT to start her own home staging company called Staging for You. She has done homes for family and friends for years, but now she has received her first paid commission. Unfortunately, the job is staging the notoriously difficult Victoria Denton’s home, but, if the job is done well (which it will be), it will give Laura a good reputation and a much needed reference. Tyrone Webster is Laura’s assistant and Victoria’s constant criticism has him on edge. After accidentally breaking a vase, Victoria insists he no longer work on the project and threatens a scholarship Tyrone has applied for at school. Later that day, Laura is in the basement when she hears a rumbling and Victoria tumbles out of the laundry chute at her feet--dead. Detective Alex Spangler puts Tyrone at the top of his suspect list and soon arrests him. Tyrone’s grandmother, Mariah Webster visits Laura and asks her to clear Tyrone’s name. Laura has been an avid cozy mystery reader thanks to the influence of Sister Madeleine at Holy Spirit School and uses what she gleaned from books to guide her investigation. Detective Spangler is firm in his belief that he has the correct killer and is not open to Laura’s meddling. Laura, with help from her best friend, Nita Marino, dons her sleuthing cap and begins her inquiries. Can Laura solve this case in time, or will Tyrone end up designing stylish cells for the local prison?

Staging is Murder is the first book in A Laura Bishop Mystery series. We meet Laura Bishop who had a well paying job in the IT industry, but she found it dull. Her true love is interior design. Laura took the plunge and set up Staging for You. Nita Marino is Laura’s best friend who has a large family (Italian-American’s) who treats Laura like one of the family. If Laura needs some type of assistance, Nita has a cousin who meets the need (lawyer, painters, etc.). Laura has hired college student, Tyrone Webster as her assistant. He has a flair for design and designs sets for local plays. Victoria Denton is not the ideal client, but she has influence in the town which can help (or destroy) Laura’s new business. When Victoria is murdered, the rude detective zeros in on Tyrone who argued with Victoria the day she died. Laura is dragged into helping Tyrone when his grandmother insists that Laura is the one to save her grandson. There are multiple suspects who wanted to harm the critical Victoria. Laura questions numerous people in her search for the killer. One person stood out to me as the killer, but others may not find it as apparent. Staging is Murder contains good writing with a steady pace. I liked that there was humor interjected into the story. Inky, Laura’s rescue cat, is such a sweetie and a comfort to Laura. I like the staging tips at the beginning of each chapter plus I learned interesting information about staging homes to sell from Laura. Staging is Murder is a pleasant start to A Laura Bishop Mystery series. Staging is Murder has a friendly protagonist, a charming town, witty commentary, good friends, a frisky feline, a client who has gone to meet her maker, and one cunning killer.
Profile Image for Tari.
2,143 reviews68 followers
July 15, 2019
What an awesome first book in this new series! I couldn't put it down! I'm so glad one of the online book clubs I'm in chose it for this month's discussion. I just loved Laura's bestie, Nita and her big Italian family of her mom and brothers, not to mention her husband. They were awesome, and I could see why Laura enjoyed being with them so much, since she'd never had any siblings. Laura's friend Sister Madeleine was just about the coolest nun who loved reading mysteries and advised Laura to look for the person who is the most desperate, and you'll find your killer. Laura's goal was to prove that her college-aged assistant, Tyrone, didn't kill the woman who had hired them.

When it came time for the showdown, which was really exciting, I hadn't even had a clue as to which person was the killer, what a surprise! There were definitely plenty of suspects too. They wrapped it up with a big party at Tyrone's grandma's house. Oh, and she was a hoot too! The scene where she and Laura visited the jail was funny! Grandma Webster wasn't afraid to tell anyone what she thought, and I loved that about her! I'm really anxious now to see what will happen in the next book!
Profile Image for Colleen.
199 reviews10 followers
April 14, 2019
It is amazing how many different topics can be explored for cozy mysteries. Grace Topping's Staging is Murder is a wonderful book that explores a topic I havr never seen before in a cozy mystery: staging a house for sale. The plot is wonderfully written, weaving the story with murder and intrigue enough to keep you on your toes. All of the characters are wonderful, even those you just love to hate. I spent most of the book trying to figure out the who done-it to the not only the murder but the other incidences along the way until the pieces started falling into place late in the book. I can't wait for the next installment!
Profile Image for Toni.
1,327 reviews41 followers
April 12, 2019
4.5 Stars

This is a new author for me, and she did not disappoint. The mystery was well-crafted. Red herrings were well placed and a smooth flow of text rounded out a great book.

I have not seen a book centered around house staging before, although I had heard of the practice. I am not sure I would have stayed on staging the place after the murder. Heck, the fingerprint dust mess alone would have sent me running,

This book was un-put-downable. And the only thing I felt a tad lacking was the pacing.

I look forward to more books from Topping, and am glad this is the first book in a new series. So, yay!

Cozy mystery fans, definitely check this one out!

I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank Edelweiss, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.
781 reviews30 followers
March 9, 2020
Staging is Murder by Grace Topping is one of the best cozy stories that I have ever read. Be it the plot or character development, the writing style or the mystery behind the murder, Grace Topping has done an excellent job in keeping her readers hooked on to the book. I absolutely loved the characters, especially Laura. The story is unique and so is the mystery behind the murder. A highly recommended cozy mystery!
Profile Image for Karen (BaronessBookTrove).
854 reviews80 followers
July 13, 2022
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy from the . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. It’s raining bodies! Oh, just one body but still!
Staging is Murder by Grace Topping is a fun mystery with a reluctant amateur detective. This book is a wonderful start to a new series. I can’t wait to see what Laura and Nita get into next.
The reluctant sleuth, Laura Bishop
Laura Bishop really doesn’t want to investigate a client’s murder, but she wants to help out her friend Tyrone who is accused of the murder. She promised his Grandmother that she would clear his name.  Laura really doesn’t know what she is doing, she has read many mysteries, but she doesn’t remember how the sleuths figured it out.

What I like about Laura is even though she doesn’t feel courageous she is. She stands by her word which I feel like not many people do anymore. The one thing that bothered me about Laura is she is holding on the negative opinions of her dead family members. She needs to embrace the positive aspect of her new life and live the way she wants to live.
Nita Martino
Nita is that crazy friend that pushes us to do the insane things that we never think we can do. I love Nita and her large, loud Italian-American family. They give Laura the support that she needs, with a side of teasing, picking and lots of food. Nita and her husband seem to feed everyone that enters their home. Which is most likely due to them being recent empty nesters.

Nita’s character gives the story the humor and warmth that is needed to keep Laura grounded and moving forward, not only with her looking for clues but also to provide Laura with the confidence to be the Staging professional that she wants to be.
The mystery is kind of funny and yet the clues are laid out well, with plenty of suspects and red herrings to throw us off. I enjoyed the small-town atmosphere and how the characters all went to school together. Which made it even harder to figure out who would have wanted to kill Victoria Denton as the list was relatively long. The victim was not a nice person.
4 Stars for Staging is Murder by Grace Topping
My rating for Staging is Murder by Grace Topping is four stars. The story is charming with references to many great detectives. I enjoyed this book and looked forward to the next one in this new series. I recommend it to all the cozy mystery readers out there.

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Profile Image for Brenda.
1,209 reviews
August 7, 2019
I read it in a day it was so cozy.

A new series featuring Laura Bishop, IT specialist turned professional home stage-r. Her first client, Victoria Denton, is known to be one nasty person. When Victoria is murdered Laura 's young assistant, Tyrone Webster, is arrested giving Laura a reason to find the real killer.

Each chapter starts with a staging tip, and as Laura draws upon her avid-reader-gained investigative skills we get a glimpse into a number of other series to add to our own collections.

There are a lot of characters I am sure we will be meeting again in future episodes of this series.

I found this author and book through FB House of Clues page...such a fun group!
Profile Image for Christine.
1,111 reviews10 followers
March 12, 2019
When Laura Bishop's fledgling decorating company beats out well known rival Monica Heller for the Denton mansion project, Laura is thrilled to have to work. That is until she spends some time with Victoria Denton. In Staging is Murder by Grace Topping, Laura has her work cut out for her with the Denton House in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania. Not only is the house huge it is severely outdated, cluttered with figurines and lorded over by angry, rude Victoria Denton. Then she discovers a body.
Profile Image for Amy Reade.
Author 21 books227 followers
March 9, 2021
A delightful mystery!

I knew I would enjoy this mystery, since I love all things houses and design. Each chapter is headed with a smart tip in home staging and has a clever tie-in to the rest of the chapter.

There are suspects galore, great characters and characterization, a well-paced plot, and I intriguing settings. I'm eager to read the next book in the series. Highly recommend for cozy mystery lovers!
Profile Image for Marie McNary.
268 reviews11 followers
April 18, 2019
Fans of Krista Davis’ Domestic Diva Mystery Series will enjoy this book. It draws you in and keeps the reader engaged from beginning until end. A strong first installment to the series. The book kept me guessing. I thought I had the ending figured out twice, only to have it turn out I was wrong. I’m looking forward to reading more of Laura’s future adventures!
Profile Image for Ann.
1,406 reviews
April 30, 2019
This was a good first attempt but a very predictable mystery. I did like the hints about staging a house to sell in each chapter. The author has a lot of promise and I hope she continues to write such unique cozies.
2,108 reviews19 followers
April 19, 2019
I greatly enjoyed Staging is Murder, the first book in the Laura Bishop series. I like that Laura understands that she doesn’t know how to conduct an investigation and that she might not find the answers. Since her assistant and dear friend Tyrone is arrested and the police are satisfied that they have the murderer, someone has to try to find the real killer, and it seems she is elected. Tyrone is studying design and is a natural at developing great stage settings, so it seems a great idea for her to hire him to help plan the staging for her first home staging job, an outdated Victorian that must sell fast. After all, he is talented and a hard worker, not to mention he needs the income from that third job to help his grandmother and to pay college expenses.
With the perennially discontent, and sometimes down right mean, Victoria in residence it isn’t long before the young assistant gets crosswise with the woman who threatens to make sure that he does not get the scholarship that he needs for his junior year tuition so he can use his income to help his grandmother who took him in when his parents died. Within hours of their confrontation the Victoria is dead. Although she has crossed words with many people, Tyrone is one of the few people who has a key and was seen in the vicinity near the time of her death. That little detail is enough reason for the police to arrest him and for the judge to set his bail too high for his grandmother to cover. Laura struggles to figure out who might have a reason to kill Victoria, but she refuses to give up even when her own life in threatened.
There are some helpful staging suggestions at the beginning of each chapter, but Laura’s staging of the Victorian is only alluded to. I enjoy seeing some of the details as the main character works on staging or decorating so I was disappointed in that one aspect of the book. Laura’s loyalty more than made up for that deficit. I enjoyed the book and look forward to seeing what she gets up to in the next one.
As always, good characters are the main draw for me and in addition to Laura and Tyrone, there are several that I enjoyed watching interact with Laura.
I received an advanced readers’ copy of the book from Henery Press via Edelweiss. I choose to review on several sites because I believe this book is the beginning of a series that will develop well and will continue to pull me into the lives of the characters.
Profile Image for Katreader.
699 reviews25 followers
April 28, 2019
STAGING IS MURDER by Grace Topping
The First Laura Bishop Mystery

Laura Bishop has landed her first job as a professional home stager, beating out her old high school nemesis to stage the Denton house for sale. Along with her young assistant Tyrone, Laura is ready to make her mark, especially since she doesn't return to her well paying, but soul numbing IT career. Despite the difficult owner and tight deadline, Laura is making progress. But while working in the basement, the owner's body falls from the laundry chute....dead. The police arrest Tyrone whose Grandmother pleads with Laura to find the real killer. Relying on her memories of mystery novels and movies and help from her best friend, Laura tries to uncover the real killer, but will the killer find her first?

I enjoyed my first trip to Louiston, Pennsylvania. For the most part, I liked Laura. I found her nervousness and aversion to good looking men a bit annoying, but on the whole she is a likeable protagonist with lots of room to grow and evolve. I absolutely love Mrs. Webster. Tyrone's grandmother is a tiny dynamo and I certainly want to be on her good side. Best friend Nita Martino is a good foil and brings exuberance and fun. I also really like Madame Zolta and hope we see a lot more of her in upcoming books.

STAGING IS MURDER sets the stage for a solid mystery series. There's an interesting plot and engaging characters, with just enough zaniness to promote laughs, but keep things real.

FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a digital ARC provided through Edelweiss, in the hopes I would review it.
April 26, 2019
Wow! The planning and misdirections in this first book remind me of the Golden Age murder/mystery writers!

Laura has a part-time assistant to help her with her fledgling business, Tyrone holds down 2 or 3 jobs, is putting himself through college, lives with his Nan and seems to be an all round good guy, so when he breaks a vase on their first paying job and gets into a little bit of a verbal argument with the house owner (who seems to think there is nothing wrong with outdated decorations and WAY too many knick knacks) nobody really thinks anything of it, until the home owner is murdered and Tyrone is suspect #1, with him hauled away to jail, his Nan comes asking Laura to help clear his name, now Laura needs to keep in top of the job at hand AND help Tyrone (and his Nan Mrs Webster), oh and she has some .... interesting help from her best friend Nita (along with Nita's extended Italian family) and the local Psychic! 

Can Laura channel her inner Miss Marple and figure out whodunnit and why?
Profile Image for Annarella.
10.5k reviews99 followers
April 30, 2019
A very good start for a new series. It's entertaining, engaging and fun to read.
I liked the cast of characters, likable and relatable, the setting and the style of writing.
The mystery was good and it kept me guessing till the end.
I look forward to reading the next installment in this series.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to Henery Press and Edelweiss for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
Profile Image for JoAnne McMaster (Any Good Book).
1,236 reviews19 followers
March 1, 2019
Laura Bishop is starting a new career in home staging. She's been hired by Victoria Denton, who's about as nasty as they come. But Laura needs the job, and she's determined to make the best of it. Along with her is her assistant Tyrone Webster, who has aspirations of becoming a designer. While working with Victoria is difficult, Laura and Tyrone seem to be dealing with it. But things come to a head one day when Tyrone accidentally breaks a vase and Victoria gets angry and demands he leave. It goes from bad to worse when Laura tells him that Victoria is on the panel to decide who receives a scholarship that he desperately wants.

Tyrone chases after her, trying to apologize and and offer to pay for the vase, but she won't budge. Later that day, while Laura is in the basement she has a surprise: Victoria falls through the oversized laundry chute, and she's very much dead. When the police arrive and take control of the situation, Laura is questioned and released. But she soon discovers that Detective Alex Spangler has arrested Tyrone for the murder, and won't be swayed.

Laura is dismayed but doesn't know what to do - that is, until she's approached by Tyrone's grandmother, who raised him. Mrs. Webster begs Laura to find the killer and get Tyrone released. She resists at first, but then reluctantly agrees, since she can't think of any way out. It begins as merely asking questions of people, but soon it becomes apparent that she's been asking the wrong person, because for one who's already killed once, they have no qualms about putting her out of the way forever...

This is the first in a new series, and I really enjoyed it. There were a couple of things that bothered me, so I'll list them and get them out of the way: I didn't care for Monica Heller at all. She's a rival stager, and I only hope she doesn't become the 'evil nemesis.' I really dislike when a series has a person that hates the protagonist and tries to destroy them and/or their business; I don't feel it's necessary to make a great series to have such a person. The second thing that bothered me is in a spoiler below, and I urge you not to read it until after you've already finished the book!

Anyway, getting past those two items, which I am giving a pass on because as I've stated before, this is the first in a new series, and I felt that the author has done a very good job of weaving a tale of mystery and intrigue, introducing characters that will be interesting to watch as they develop over time. I do like the characters of Laura, Nita, and Tyrone, and Doug . It will be interesting to see where the next book takes us in regard to their lives.

While the action was low-key, it worked admirably. Laura seems to be a kind of low-key gal. I liked the fact that she was uncomfortable in her new position as amateur sleuth; she was asking questions but didn't really know how to go about it and when she confronted people, it seemed right that she was overly blunt, being 'new to the game' as it were. She's a wonderful character and I can't wait to see where the next book takes us.

When the ending comes and the murderer is revealed, I felt that it all came together nicely and was believable. One never knows what another is capable of; or what will drive them to commit murder. It was a very good narrative indeed, and I look forward to the next in the series. Highly recommended.
2,813 reviews1,728 followers
December 1, 2019
Woot -- what a fabulous debut in the cozy mystery genre! So much to love about this book and this author (may there be many more untold stories clamoring to escape her clever mind!) Here's some things that really stuck out for me:

Love the staging theme -- it's a nice change from all the bookshop/library/tea shop themed mysteries (though I'm fiercely loyal to those tropes!) -- it's just fun to have something a little different in the cozy mystery mix.

Love that the heroine is a little 'seasoned' -- early forties -- just because that's a bit different too and that kind of life perspective can be refreshing.

Love that Laura isn't very good at sleuthing -- and she knows it. :-) She doesn't think well on her feet and stumbles through questioning people. Subtlety isn't her strong suit which adds a touch of humour and whimsy to the story.

Love the myriad of engaging characters. I either loved 'em or hated 'em. No ambivalence here. But I especially adored Tyrone's grandmother. Mrs. Webster is a firecracker! She manages to be both sweet and formidable and I love her unwavering faith.

Love that it's a clean read.

And I absolutely, positively loved the nod to Father Brown. (insert big grin here.)

Oh -- last, but by no means least -- I listened to the audible version of Staging is Murder and loved Emily Durante's narration. It's zippy and fun and I could tell the reader was enjoying the story as much as I was.
Profile Image for Jerri Cachero.
577 reviews47 followers
September 5, 2021
Having a TBR list is great....until you find your list has hidden a wonderful book that you wished you'd read sooner! The Laura Bishop Mysteries is one of the gems on my list! Laura Bishop, home stager, is determined to prove her friend and colleague is innocent of murder...but a murderer is just as determined to stay hidden.

I enjoy books with multiple supporting characters and this series has some of the best - a nun, psychic, best friend and more make the book fun and keep the backstory going. Laura is a very believable first-time sleuth and her sense of humor is fun and occurs at the best times - usually when something is not going as planned. She doesn't rush into danger but is not timid. There was a hint of romance but the focus was on solving the mystery. I enjoyed the home staging tips and wrote some of them down. The mystery was fast-paced, well-written and I'm a Laura Bishop fan!

Check out Laura Bishop and friends, you'll be a fan too!

1 review
February 25, 2019
If you enjoyed Jan Karon's Mitford books as I did, then you need to take a literary journey to Louiston, PA. It's the home of Laura Bishop, home stager and reluctant sleuth. As Laura tries to get her new home staging business off the ground, she finds a body in her client's home and is drawn into trying to solve the crime.
Along the way, she introduces the reader to Louiston businesses and colorful characters all around town. Wander down Main Street and try to predict who will help Laura and who will hinder her investigation. And what about that man picking up trash along the side of the road?
I'm hoping that Staging is Murder will be the first of a long series of Laura Bishop mysteries by Grace Topping. Settle into a comfy chair and enjoy your visit to Louiston.
Profile Image for Tami.
19 reviews
May 6, 2019
The debut book in the Laura Bishop series, Staging is Murder is a great start to a new series by Grace Topping. The characters are likable and interesting. The introductions and character backgrounds are done smoothly and are well paced through the book and not drawing away from the flow of the mystery. I really enjoyed reading Staging is Murder, it kept me interested, and cheering for Laura as she tries to prove her assistant’s innocence when a murder literally lands at her feet. Each chapter also leads off with a helpful hint in “Staging” your home to sell, which I found to be a nice added touch. Staging is Murder by Grace Topping gets five stars from me and I recommend you give it a read. I look forward to more from this series!

Profile Image for Floyd.
310 reviews5 followers
February 26, 2019
A new book by a new author always leaves the reader wondering what is coming. Grace Topping and Henery Books have not disappointed.

My first thought, as I picked up this book, was that I was about to read another theater or movie themed book. WRONG!! Laura Bishop is not into the stage as much as she is into real estate - her job is preparing a house to sell, regardless of the shape she finds it in when first enters its doors. This theme is carried throughout the book as each chapter is prefaced with a brief one two sentence hint on the techniques anyone can use to stage their home.

The mystery really begins when Victoria Denton comes tumbling down the laundry chute at Laura Bishop’s feet. The police are convinced that Tyrone Webster (Laura’s helper/assistant) is guilty and quickly arrest him and proceed to build their case. Laura is not quite so sure; and, like any great amateur detective, begins to interview those involved - friends, neighbors, and suspects.

The result is a cozy mystery that will keep the reader captivated and engrossed as he and she moves through the book. This reader will be looking for more from Grace Topping and Laura Bishop. Easily, a five-star cozy mystery.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Elena.
33 reviews
July 29, 2019
I enjoyed this first in a series cozy mystery. I liked how every chapter had a tip for staging homes for sale and that something from that tip was in that chapter. I also enjoyed the references to various other murder mystery books. I will be reading more from this series as they are released. Looking forward to the next book.
Profile Image for Melissa.
2,045 reviews
October 10, 2021
Enjoyed this fun mystery. I really liked all the mentions of other book and tv sleuths, which made for a fun element. The mystery is good and I appreciated that the sleuth knew her limitations and that she really didn’t know what she was doing. The end was exciting and fit the story. Overall, a solid debut for a new series.
Profile Image for Dorothy  Scott.
411 reviews
May 4, 2019
For Mystery Lovers

Thoroughly enjoyed this book.Not a mystery reader, but eagerly awaiting the next one. This is written very well and a fun read. Congratulations on a book well done and a highly recommended read!
Profile Image for Colleen.
199 reviews10 followers
May 5, 2019
Engaging read

This book by Grace Topping is a wonderful debut book. Her main character is a stager for home sales - something I have never seen before. I loved the book and can't wait for the next one in the series!
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