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Staged To Death by Karen Rose Smith
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737250,774 (3.62)5
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, Caprices large Italian family helps and hinders. She also finds romance with Dr. Seth Randolph. But does her brothers partner, attorney Grant Weatherford, care about her, too? Or is he just worried she'll get herself killed and her family will blame him?… (more)



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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
This was a 4.5 star read for me. 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 gardner 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. ( )
  Carlathelibrarian | Feb 5, 2019 |
Although the book needed to be culled of too many non relevant descriptions, I loved the book enough to get over it. The descriptions really did set the scene, but am still hoping to be spared all of that in the next installments.
Staged to Death is a wonderful first in series, with original, easy to love characters and a much better than average mystery story line. I am on board to pre-order the next book when it is available. ( )
  StephLaymon | Jan 26, 2016 |
Caprice DeLuca, a home stager is helping her high school friend, Roz, prepare to sell the house that she and her husband built when they were married. Trouble in paradise and murder in the study of Roz's husband have Caprice assisting Roz to avoid the paparazzi as well as a stint in jail. Caprice starts asking questions about Roz's husband's business, finds an attorney for Roz, and sets out to discover the murderer.

Okay, don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the story and the main characters but there were just a few too many other characters rolling through this one - 37 major/minor characters is way too many. I really feel that with some rethinking, some of these minor characters could have been rolled in together.

Hopefully, future installments will have a lesser population. ( )
  cyderry | Jun 30, 2015 |
Five stars. I thoroughly enjoyed Staged to Death by Karen Rose Smith. This is book 1 in the Caprice De Luca Mystery series. Caprice is a professional home stager who has been hired by her old High School friend Roz Winslow to stage her castle-like mansion that she shares with her husband Ted, so that they can sell it. Little does Caprice know that she and Roz will find Ted dead in the couple's home, stabbed by one of his own prized weapons. Caprice goes into action to protect her friend while trying to find the killer. This cozy really resonated with me for several reasons. The story flowed effortlessly...no lulls, and I was easily able to acquaint myself with the main characters. I was immersed in the book to the very end. I really liked the protagonist, Caprice. Her eclectic, retro style presented a vivid picture of her personality, as well as her surroundings, whether it was her staging projects or times when she was entertaining in her home. Also, the book mentions so many of my favorite things: loving family members, great food, recipes, cute pets, flowers, and an intriguing murder mystery. I really liked that the murderer wasn't far fetched because it actually gave me the opportunity to figure out who might have done it. Although there were quite a few names mentioned in the book, I was able to keep up with who was who. Additionally, I'm actually happy that book 2, Deadly Decor, is available because I am convinced I would enjoy another cozy featuring Caprice De Luca. In summary, this was one of my favorite cozies. I enjoyed it so much that in the end I think I would have been happy with whoever the murderer was because the story was good nevertheless. I received this book free from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review which I have given. ( )
  Lauigl | Sep 23, 2014 |
Caprice De Luca is a real estate stager and while helping her friend, Roz, stage her mansion, they find Roz's husband dead with a dagger in his back. Roz is the prime suspect, of course, and Caprice feels she must find the murderer to help clear Roz's name.

Not a bad first in a new series, but I have issues with it.

We'll start with the negative and end with the positive:

1. Another example of third person narrative that just isn't done as well as it could be. The language just felt unnatural to me and the narrative kept pulling me out of the story. I was beginning to think I just didn't like third person POV, but then DH pointed out several very good examples of third person used so seamlessly that I don't even notice it.

2. A small thing that doesn't deserve to be bolded, and it's all me: I kept seeing "Caprice" and reading "Capice". Ugh! Drove myself crazy with that one...

3. MC. I didn't warm to this woman. The author tried to give her a tragic dating history that justified the chip on her shoulder about men, but it fell flat with me. It felt like she (Caprice) is out to punish all men for the sins of two men; neither of which really topped the charts in dramatic breakups. I wasn't buying it.

4. Blatant sexism anyone? I'm not a feminist and have been accused more than once of actually being sexist against my own gender. I'm not, but that's a discussion for when I'm not reviewing a cozy mystery. Still there were several comments made in this book that left me thinking "excuse me?" to myself and if I noticed them... well. One example:

"I'm not sure your reasoning made logical sense. But then I've found lots of women's reasoning doesn't."

Really? Women have cornered the market on illogical reasoning? Ok, sure. This was said by the man who is being set up as the long term love interest, someone we're supposed to want the MC with, and he's saying it to Caprice. And this is written by a woman going by the author name on the cover, which isn't always a clear indication, I know. There wasn't a lot of this kind of thing, but what there was of it stood out.

What I did like:

I like the sister dynamic. I'm not close with my siblings (massive age gaps), so I like to live vicariously through happy, healthy, close sibling relationships in my books. :)

The mystery was well done. There were big, BIG motives in this book. One of them might have been a tad overambitious, and maybe a little bit under-researched, but nothing that detracted from the enjoyment of the plot. The end was skirting the line with TSTL, but overall, in comparison with most other cozies, Caprice was downright cautious. This is a mystery where neither the MC nor the reader has the information to determine the killer until the end. That bothers some, but I sort of like it.

The book held my attention. At the end of the day, sometimes that's a feat in an of itself. Except for a moment in the middle when I had to force myself to pick it up (there was a lot of internal dialog I just skipped over and my attention wandered) and keep reading, I was interested in the story enough to find out what happened next. Because of this, I'll read the second one and see where Caprice goes from here. ( )
  murderbydeath | Sep 20, 2014 |
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