"Staging Wars" By Grace Topping: Review/Giveaway

by Cynthia Chow

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review and links to purchase it.

The owner of her new home staging business Staging for You, Laura Bishop specializes in creating the perfect setting for those looking to buy a new home. A real body being placed in a funeral home would be going above and beyond even her expectations of designing a lived-in look, which is why the call from her friend Nita Martino is so upsetting.

➡ switch to KingsRiverLife.com for more articles ⬅

Image Source Henery Press
Detective Alex Spangler isn’t thrilled to once again find Laura at the scene of one of his investigations, but for once she was only attempting to support her friend. Laura has no connection to the deceased, Ian Becker, so she is able to turn her focus on promoting her business’s growing presence in Louiston, Pennsylvania. The unexpected arrival of her dour Aunt Kit threatens to rain on her parade, especially since her mother’s sister has never seen a glass that wasn’t half-empty and complain about it. While the mystery of Ian Becker being found stabbed to death in a funeral home has Laura’s puzzle-obsessed mind whirling, it’s not until famous artist Damian Reynolds is murdered that she fully gets pulled in. The woman found standing over the body and holding the bloody knife happens to be Laura’s nemesis Monica Heller, a business rival as well as the woman whom Laura believes was her ex-husband’s mistress. While this might normally be a cause for a little self-righteous satisfaction, Laura’s book group friend Sister Madeleine manages to use her nun-enhanced powers to guilt Laura into helping Monica not only continue her rival staging business, but to be compassionate enough to hear her out.

Laura isn’t entirely sure that Monica is innocent, but Nita’s forthright questioning and investigative assistance opens several avenues of investigation. As Laura follows the trail through the art world and the maze of greedy agents and competing artists, she discovers that it may loop back around to the body in the funeral home. An attack in a possible client’s home only heightens the probability that Laura is on the right track, but it also makes profession she loves also a place where she is most vulnerable to a murderer.

The business of home staging is endlessly fascinating and tips at the beginning of each chapter offer advice on how to make a house more appealing. Laura herself is an intriguing character, for after the death of her affectionate father life became downtrodden by her critical and downtrodden mother. A straying ex-husband stigmatized all charming, handsome men for Laura, which explains why she resists the appeal of an undeniably attractive real estate agent.

By the end of this second in the series Laura may learn how to let go of the resentments of the past and move on with her present life. An exciting confrontation with an unexpected villain makes this a thrilling mystery as well a compelling examination of characters’ relationships and their abilities to grow. Even the most unlikable personalities are made appealing through their history and complexities, highlighting the skill of the author at crafting well-rounded, believable characters. While home staging may be based appealing first on a superficial level, this series delves deep into the vulnerabilities of its heroes and killers.

Check out other Henery Press mysteries on their website.

To enter to win a copy of Staging Wars, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "wars,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 23, 2020. U.S. residents only. If entering via comment please include your email address. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win, we will not use your address for any other reason. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast featuring mystery short stories and first chapters read by actors. A new episode went up this week!

Check out a podcast episode featuring the first book in this series Staging is Murder here and on the player below:

You can use these links to purchase the book. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. That's a great premise! Count me in!

  2. Sounds like a really fun read, thanks for the chance to win a copy. crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com

  3. This sounds like a good one, would love to get the copy! tWarner419@aol.com

  4. Interesting storyline. Would really like to read.

  5. The hints provided in this book on how to improve your home situation is beneficial to me. I appreciate the chance to enter your giveaway. robeader53(at)yahoo(dot)com


Post a Comment