Silence of the Lamps by Karen Rose Smith: Review/Interview/Giveaway

May 7, 2016 | 2016 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Sandra Murphy

This week we are reviewing Silence of the Lamps by Karen Rose Smith. We also have an interesting interview with Karen. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of this book and a link to buy it from Amazon.

Silence of the Lamps by Karen Rose Smith
Review by Sandra Murphy

Caprice De Luca is a home stager. When potential buyers tour houses for sale, she’s the one who brought the furniture and accessories in to make it feel homey. Her three storage units are full of just what it takes to get a house sold. It doesn’t hurt that sister Nikki is a caterer. On open house days, Nikki provides good food that will win over the most reluctant of buyers.

Drew Pierson used to work for Nikki. He first made an aggressive pass (went way over the line) and then proposed they become partners. Nikki turned him down, so he started his own catering company and vowed to run her out of business. He’s stealing clients by undercutting prices, offering dishes he learned to make in Nikki’s kitchen, and mysteriously is able to duplicate his grandmother’s cake recipe—one she never, ever shared. book

Nikki says enough is enough. It’s time to confront Drew about his underhanded ways. She does have the good sense to ask Caprice to meet her at his grandmother’s house. He’s been staying with Rowena, supposedly to help her since her eyesight is failing. Who knows what the real reason is?

When Caprice arrives, Nikki is waiting beside her car. The inner door is open and no one answers. Nikki steps inside to call out and sees Drew’s body on the floor.

Since she and Drew had argued at an open house and he taunted her at the bridal expo, finding the body just puts the icing on the cake, so to speak, to make her suspect number one in the eyes of the police. Caprice has had a bit of experience in figuring out who is guilty, so with her sister under suspicion, she starts asking a few questions.

There are any number of suspects. Drew’s real personality was that of a user. If he saw a way to get ahead without a lot of work involved, he took it, no matter who it hurt. There’s the matter of stolen recipes, a woman he dated and dropped, his feud with Nikki, and the oddity of his continued friendship with two high school buddies — one rich and successful, the other a down and out drunkard.

On a more personal level, Caprice’s romance with Grant had been progressing nicely, until his ex-wife showed up. Running into them at the Raspberry Festival didn’t help matters. Rather than confront him, Caprice is more of a get out of the way and see what happens kind of gal — the opposite of her need to snoop in murder investigations.

Besides, she has to spend a lot of time with her dog, Lady, and the two cats. She and her uncle found a stray, pregnant cat who needs a home. What was a way to find out about Drew, grew into a friendship with his grandmother. Add in a little volunteer work and Caprice’s days are full.

This is book five in the Caprice De Luca Mystery series. The mystery isn’t one with a where-did-that-come-from ending, but one filled with subtle clues. The De Luca family is a close one, not overly pushy, but there when needed. Side characters take turns in the spotlight as well. For an enjoyable read, ideas for décor and recipes for yummy foods like easy beef Bourguignon, Lima bean casserole, and carrot surprise cake with cream cheese frosting, this is a good place to start.

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch, in the land of blues, booze and shoes—St Louis, Missouri. While writing magazine articles to support her mystery book habit, she secretly polishes mystery books of her own, hoping, someday, they will see the light of Barnes and Noble and a Kindle. You can find several of Sandra’s short stories at Untreed Reads including her newest, “Arthur,” included in the anthology titled, Flash and Bang, available now. Look for Denali, in the anthology Dogs and Dragons.

Interview with Karen Rose Smith:

KRL: How long have you been writing?

Karen: I’ve been writing since 1985.

KRL: Have you always written mysteries/suspense stories? Have you written any other genres?

Karen: I wrote romances for the first 20 years of my career. I needed a change and spoke with my agent about it. He mentioned an editor who would like to see a cozy mystery from me. I developed Caprice and her family and a synopsis for the first mystery. Since then I’ve also indie published two women’s fiction novels.

KRL: When did your first novel come out? What was it called?

Karen: My first novel was published in 1992. A Man Worth Loving was a contemporary romance published by Meteor/Kismet.

KRL: What made you to choose the setting and characters in your Caprice De Luca Mystery series? Tell us a little about the setting and main character for Silence of the Lamps.

Karen: I wanted to choose a setting I was familiar with, yet I chose the fictional town of Kismet so I could create a community. My sleuth’s large Italian family creates a community within a community. In Silence of the Lamps I also draw on surrounding areas in Pennsylvania such as Pinchot State Park.


Karen Rose Smith

KRL: Do you write to entertain or is there something more you want the readers to take away from your work?

Karen: I write to give hope, no matter what genre I’m plotting. I’ve been married forty-four years, so for my romances I believe in the power of love and commitment. In my women’s fiction novels, I weave the possible with the impossible to make my readers think. In my cozy mysteries, I create a family my readers would like to be a part of with sibling relationships that are close and matter. In my mysteries, I make sure that justice wins out and a touch of romance uplifts my sleuth.

KRL: Do you have a schedule for your writing, or do you just write whenever you can?

Karen: Writing is a 24 hour a day job. I’ve written 3 to 4 books a year from the first year I began writing. If I’m not doing what I call “raw” writing, I’m editing, promoting, or thinking about all of the above. I now consider social media an integral part of my daily schedule.

KRL: Do you rely on outline? Or do you have some other interesting way to keep track of what’s going on or what needs to happen in your book when you are writing it?

Karen: I do outline. My writing process is more efficient if I know exactly where I’m going for each scene. I often add scenes along the way, but I have the essential plot outlined before I begin.

KRL: What kind of research do you do?

Karen: I do whatever research is necessary for the book from interviews with a magistrate, police and therapists, to internet research about plants, decorating, music, poisons, weapons, and any other subject that surfaces for my plot line.

KRL: If you had your ideal, what time of day would you prefer to write?

Karen: I would prefer to write in the morning so that my page quota is finished for the day. But since my husband retired, I now do most of my “raw” writing late at night.

KRL: Did you find it difficult to get published in the beginning?

Karen: I wrote for six years and finished thirteen contemporary romances before I got ‘the call.’ Then I sold two books in one week to two different publishers.

KRL: Do you have a great rejection, critique, or acceptance story you’d like to share?

Karen: Whenever I got stalled in my career because of a change in editors, I submitted to a different company. I never let a rejection stop my writing process or schedule.

KRL: Can you share an interesting book signing story whether in a bookstore or another venue?

Karen: The best laugh when I’m doing a book signing is when a customer coming into the store asks for directions to the ladies’ room!

KRL: LOL! What are some of you future writing goals?

Karen: I’d like to keep publishing a mix of mysteries, women’s fiction, and romance.

KRL: What do you like to read?

Karen: I read mostly thriller/suspense.

KRL: Do you have any favorite television shows or movies?

Karen: My favorite all time are the movies Ghost and Frequency.

KRL: Do you have any advice for aspiring or beginning writers?

Karen: Along with writing skills, persistence and determination are the two most important qualities a writer should cultivate.

KRL: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

Karen: In my college years, I collaborated with my cousin on a script for The Monkees television show.

KRL: Website? Facebook? Twitter?

Karen: Websites:




To enter to win a copy of Silence of the Lamps, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “lamps,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 14, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.

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  1. Great interview. Love this series and Karen Rose Smith!!

  2. This is another great series. Looking forward to reading the newest book in the series.

  3. Yes! It’s fun to get to know a little bit about the author behind a great read. I enjoyed book 1 Staged to Death and look forward to continuing the journey. The interview was also insightful learning that Karen wrote other genres, too, and co-wrote an episode for The Monkees show… Thanks, Karen! Thanks, Sandra! Thanks, KRL!

  4. Thank you for this great interview. Silence of the Lamps sounds great!

  5. Love this series! Can’t wait to read this. I would love to give a copy a happy home. Thanks for the chance.

  6. Love the cover. and the post. Would love to read Silence of the Lamps. Thanks for the change to get it sooner

  7. Thank you for the fantastic interview and wonderful chance to win! I love Karen Rose Smith’s books!

  8. Fun interview and I loved the Monkeys throwback. I would love to read this book…

  9. Thanks for the great review and interview! A home stager – sounds like a fascinating career.

  10. Nice interview! Can’t wait to try this series!

  11. I loved the interview with the author! It is always nice to know more about the author. Thank you for the chance to win.
    myrifraf (at) gmail (dot) com

  12. Love this series. Would love to win a copy of Silence of the Lamps. Thanks for the giveaway.

  13. Great series and author. I haven’t gotten a copy yet , maybe I will win one.

  14. We have a winner!


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