Staging is Murder by Grace Topping

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.

Title: Staging is Murder
Author: Grace Topping
Publisher: Henery Press
Publication Date: April 30, 2019
Classification: Cozy Mystery

Topping’s Website | Publisher’s Page | Goodreads

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


  1. Great review, Christopher! Seems like you are a fan of cozy mysteries. 🙂 Judging from your review, Grace Topping seems to have crafted a brilliant story.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I most definitely love a good cozy! Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Grace Topping says:

    Thank you, Christopher, for the fabulous review–one that any first-time author would love to have.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful review, Christopher! This definitely sounds like a charming cozy! I’ve been reading a few more of them lately and really enjoying them!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Jennifer! I adore cozy mysteries. And this is a great start to a series— no fifty books to catch up on!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. carhicks says:

    Great review Christopher. I passed on this one as I am so buried under my TBR mountain, but perhaps I made the wrong choice????

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s a very, very good start to a series, but it totally makes sense if you you’re buried under a TBR pile. On the bright side, it seems like we’re practically being spoiled with great new cozies, so there are plenty of other opportunities.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Grace Topping says:

      If you enjoy HGTV home staging or house flipping shows, this might be one to read in the future when your TBR stack shrinks.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. carhicks says:

        I love those shows. Thanks, good luck on this series Grace Topping.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. ConnieBerry says:

    I had the privilege of reading this manuscript in several stages. Grace is one of the most entertaining writers I know. And the characters she creates are irresistible. Mrs. Webster has to be my favorite, but I love them all–especially Laura. I can’t wait to see what she gets up to in the next installment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mrs. Webster is such a fantastic character. Hopefully we’ll be seeing a lot more from her.

      Liked by 1 person

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