STAGED TO DEATH – Karen Rose Smith
A Caprice De Luca Mystery , Book 1
Kensington Books
ISBN: 978-0-7582-8484-6
December 2013
Cozy Mystery

Present Day Kismet, Pennsylvania

Caprice De Luca stages houses for sale. After she has had the sellers de-clutter the home, they decide on a theme to present the house at its most desirable. Her open house showings reflect the themes even up to the catering done by Caprice's sister Nikki. The showing of the Winslow mansion reflects a rather medieval theme to go along with architecture that her friends, Ted and Roz Winslow, came up with when they built. The showing is a success…except for Caprice's spying Ted kissing another woman. Caprice debates whether or not to tell her friend, but the decision is moot some days later when Caprice and Roz, together, discover Ted dead on the floor of his sword room, a dagger in his back.

As is often the case, the prime suspect in a murder is the spouse, and so it is with Roz. But Roz is Caprice's friend, and Caprice is positive Roz did not kill Ted. She has already taken Roz under her wing and is determined to prove her innocent, even if she has to find the killer herself.

STAGED TO DEATH has a large cast of characters. There are seven alone in the De Luca family: Caprice, her brother and two sisters; her parents and grandmother, and that's not counting sister Bella's husband and two children. Then there are other friends and the people she does business with. Kismet is a small town, and we get to meet some interesting persons who further the plot and provide local color—and suspects.

At thirty-two and single, Caprice has suffered two disappointments in her love life and has a hard time trusting men. However, Ms. Smith has a long backlist of warm family based romance novels, so her foray into writing mysteries is not devoid of family or romance. This will be an ongoing series, however, so in this first book we just get intimations of two possible future developments. After all, brother Vince and sister Nikki are single…

You will also need to pay attention to everyone, for we don't learn who the murderer is until Caprice does.

A word to the wise: have a snack handy because there is cooking and eating involved, even recipes in the back of the book. For a taste—and to get to know Caprice—check out Click here: Karen Rose Smith Mysteries .

Jane Bowers