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    A strong beginning

    I greatly enjoyed Staging is Murder, the first book in the Laura Bishop series. I liked that Laura understands that she doesn’t know how to conduct an investigation and that she might not find the answers. Since her assistant and dear friend Tyrone is arrested and the police are satisfied that they have the murderer, someone has to try to find the real killer, and it seems she is elected. Tyrone is studying design and is a natural at developing great stage settings, so it seems a great idea for her to hire him to help plan the staging for her first home staging job, an outdated Victorian that must sell fast. After all, he is talented and a hard worker, not to mention he needs the income from that third job to help his grandmother and to pay college expenses. With the perennially discontent, and sometimes down right mean, Victoria in residence it isn’t long before the young assistant gets crosswise with the woman who threatens to make sure that he does not get the scholarship that he needs for his junior year tuition so he can use his income to help his grandmother who took him in when his parents died. Within hours of their confrontation the Victoria is dead. Although she has crossed words with many people, Tyrone is one of the few people who has a key and was seen in the vicinity near the time of her death. That little detail is enough reason for the police to arrest him and for the judge to set his bail too high for his grandmother to cover. Laura struggles to figure out who might have a reason to kill Victoria, but she refuses to give up even when her own life in threatened. There are some helpful staging suggestions at the beginning of each chapter, but Laura’s staging of the Victorian is only alluded to. I enjoy seeing some of the details as the main character works on staging or decorating so I was disappointed in that one aspect of the book. Laura’s loyalty more than made up for that deficit. I enjoyed the book and look forward to seeing what she gets up to in the next one. As always, good characters are the main draw for me and in addition to Laura and Tyrone, there are several that I enjoyed watching interact with Laura. I received an advanced readers’ copy of the book from Henery Press via Edelweiss. I choose to review on several sites because I believe this book is the beginning of a series that will develop well and will continue to pull me into the lives of the characters.

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