Title: Upstaged by Murder (A Laura Bishop Mystery #3)
Author: Grace Topping
Published on: 20th April 2021
Genre: Cozy Mystery
My favorite amateur sleuth Laura Bishop is back!
I have read the first two books of this series and Laura Bishop Mysteries is one of my favorite cozy series of all times. Grace Topping is a fantastic author. Also, I have to mention the theme – home staging, a theme I haven’t come across in a cozy series before.
Nita, Laura’s best friend since childhood, has signed Laura up for a home staging competition. It so happened that Nita’s cousins were prepping the building for a Home Staging competition for a national television and Nita ‘happened’ to hear the producers talk about a contestant who backed out at the last minute. Where on earth would they find a new contestant with just two days to go before the shooting begins? Nita tells the producers about Laura and her home staging business… well, you know what happened next.
Laura can bring an assistant so she asks Tyrone to help her out. At the venue, Laura meets Beth, an assistant producer of the show. When they meet later, Beth warns Laura to be careful. Before she could ask more, the ladies are interrupted. On the first day of the shooting, Beth is nowhere to be seen. The show starts without Beth on scene. Hours later, Laura receives a phone call from Josh, an antique dealer and Laura’s friend; he’s found a dead body in an antique trunk. The victim is… Beth.
What a fantastic addition to my favorite series! A murder mystery, a string of burglaries, a dash of humor and staging tips before the beginning of each chapter. The recurring characters include Tyrone and his grandmother Mrs. Webster, Nita and her numerous cousins, Detective Spangler, Aunt Kit and Laura’s cat Inky (had to mention the cat! very Important!) and Josh.
Apart from the murder mystery – which Laura is definitely not going to solve – yep, she’s promised Detective Spangler she won’t interfere in police business. No sir! So, where was I? Yeah, apart from the murder mystery, we also have a series of burglaries – now this is something Laura and gang could solve, especially since the police is busy with the murder case. Josh owns an antique shop and has recently made quite a few purchases. He later learns someone sold him stolen goods. Laura and her friends learn that someone’s targeting the old and vulnerable, stealing precious items from their homes and selling it to Josh.
Without giving away any spoilers, let me say what else the readers are in for. We have a glimpse of Laura’s history and a possible love angle. *wink wink* The second half is where the readers are in for a shocking news. Also, this particular ‘news’ brings a whole new twist to the case. The ending is mind-blowing and I could not identity the perp until they came face-to-face with Laura. I suppose even Laura couldn’t believe this particular character could be capable of killing someone.
Though this book can be read as a standalone, if you haven’t come across this series until now, I highly recommend you to start from book #1.
Upstaged by Murder by Grace Topping is an engrossing and entertaining cozy mystery. A page turner!