Upstaged by Murder By Grace Topping: Review/Giveaway

Jun 5, 2021 | 2021 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow

Details at the end of the post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of Upstaged by Murder, or any other book in the series, and a link to order it from Amazon and an independent bookstore.

It’s only been a year since Laura Bishop left a high-paying career in IT to set up her own professional home staging business in Pennsylvania, so she certainly didn’t expect to be competing for a chance at being the next home staging television star. After one of the Cozy Living TV contestants had to bow out for an illness, the crew was hard-pressed to find a replacement and Nita Martino was eager to toss her friend Laura’s name in as a last-minute replacement. While no one, especially the producer Olivia Yeager, thinks that Laura has much of a chance of winning, she can’t deny the value of publicity to promote her business after the week of challenges. The overly handsome and rather lecherous producer Simon Tate is only the first challenge Laura will have to face, as it’s not long before they find the body of a production assistant stuffed into a decorative trunk.

Detective Alex Spangler has already grown wary of Laura’s involvement in several of his murder cases, so he’s not thrilled to find her at the scene of yet another. It certainly doesn’t help when Laura finds herself in the midst of Detective Spangler’s domestic kerfuffle with his teen daughter as well, but it does at least show a more vulnerable side to the frustrated investigator. There’s an abundance of other mysteries popping up to keep both the Detective and Laura occupied, not in the least of which results in a shocking revelation about Laura’s family. Now more committed to solving the death of Beth Crawford than ever, Laura and her friends will unravel antique fencing rings, track down former assistants, and create a gorgeous room design that will be appealing enough to lure clients but not so impressive as to have her actually win and become a TV host.

This third in the series sprinkles humor throughout the novel, with overblown egos, emotional young adults, and enthusiastic contributions from Laura’s enthusiastic college assistant. Chapters begin with home staging advice that will benefit both sellers and those just looking to improve their décor, and the televised competition will thrill HGTV fans. Along with witty banter and extremely likable characters, the novel ventures into the weighty topics of MeToo and complicated family relationships. As Laura, Nita, and assistant Tyrone Webster stage a sting to help their antique store owning friend Josh Sheridan, Detective Alex Spangler is reluctantly drawn into their scheme if only to protect their safety. Laura’s life is branching out in ways she never expected, and while startling they could also be so rewarding. The mix of television production, home stating competition, and Laura’s increasingly complicated life will entertain and meet the needs of the most avid home improvement and mystery reading fans.

To enter to win an ebook copy of Upstaged by Murder or another book in the series, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “upstage,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 12, 2021. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. BE SURE TO STATE WHICH BOOK YOU WANT. 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. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. A new episode went up this week.

You can listen to the first chapter of the first book in this series in an episode of Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast by clicking here, or using the player below:

You can use this link to purchase this book from indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy, and KRL gets a portion of the sale:

You can use this link to purchase the book on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the 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. Sounds interesting! I’d like to try this book!

  2. This sounds like a fun and enjoyable series.

  3. Loved the first 2 books and would love this book. Love all the little tips in the book that Laura uses.

  4. New author to me. Sounds like a great book.

  5. Sounds good. Thanks for the chance to win it! lindaherold999(at)gmail(dot)com

  6. We have a winner!


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