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Ellie Stone Mystery Books In Order

Publication Order of Ellie Stone Books

Styx & Stone (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
No Stone Unturned (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Stone Cold Dead (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Heart of Stone (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Cast the First Stone (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Stone's Throw (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Turn to Stone (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

The Ellie Stone Mystery is a series of whodunit novels by popular mystery crime writer James W. Ziskin. Ziskin published the first of the Ellie Stone Mysteries, Styx and Stone in 2013 and three years later he had written 4 more titles in the series. Set in the 1960s, these books are detective crime mysteries in the mold of books by authors such as Raymond Chandler or Dorothy Sayers. The chief protagonist in the novel is detective Eleonora “Ellie” Stone, currently an inexperienced reporter working for a small newspaper in New Holland, New York. According to Ziskin, the motivations for writing a novel set in the 60s were to explain the fast changing world of the time as contrasted with the changing nature and place of a professional woman during the time. James Ziskin creates a character that readers can connect to on a variety of intellectual and emotional planes.

Ellie is a remarkably independent, brilliant, magnetic, yet complex woman that is prone to obsessive behavior normally associated with male professionals of the time. Nonetheless, while Ellie seems to be a projection gender stereotypes of the time, deep inside she is a truly nice girl. The attributes of the protagonist mirror the major changes happening in the world such as the birth of new nations, changes in attitudes towards sex, and the end of colonial empires after the end of World War II. 1960s New York finds Ellie as a young journalist playing by her own rules. She does not have the luxury of modern cell phones, computer analysis, or any other crime scene investigation tools and techniques, to help her in doing her job. Even as she is a libertine character, one of Ellie Stone’s most admirable qualities is her strong ethical and moral compass in doing her job. Stone is very smart, probably smarter than her superiors are, yet she does not have an arrogant streak. In fact, she never considers herself as a heroine, but just a reporter who is doing her job as it ought to be done. While she comes from an intellectual and privileged background, her New Holland police district is dramatically different from her leafy suburb upbringing. Despite all the challenges, she manages to overcome most of them by improvising and coming up with clever solutions almost all the time.

The fictional suburb of New Holland is in a state of atrophy, which provides an excellent canvas for the character, and the narratives of the Ellie Stone Mysteries. While it makes use of a willful Nancy Drew type character, the setting and language of the mysteries is not quite the same. It does not have the foul language or the violence evident in the typical Drew like novel. However, Ellie Stone just like Drew does solve murder mysteries not with her fists but her wits. Ziskin the author asserts that one of the hardest things to do with a novel set in the 60s is making it interesting enough without using modern day technology. One of the best things about the series of the novels is that they are exceptional in terms of language, tone, and believability. While a lot of research goes into the writing of the Ellie Stone novels, the author’s expertise in the creation of a strong plot, some tasty prose, and engaging characters is one of the biggest strengths of the novels. The series is the work of a linguist and hence the word play is almost perfect as Ziskin asserts that his journalistic training taught him to respect and love words and more importantly to verify his information. With such excellent use of words, the Ellie Stone Mysteries are likely to be one of the best detective crime mystery series for anyone that loves a story with a strong lead and a story rooted in historical fact. With a novel published every year since 2013, the author of the series shows no sign of slowing down.

The first novel in the series, Styx and Stone finds Ellie Stone as the archetypal 1960s modern girl in New York. Respecting no boundaries and playing by her own rules, she is investigating a killer that she is sure is among the throngs of renowned scholars at the Italian Department of Columbia University. Always seen by colleagues and superiors as trying too hard to do a man’s job, Ellie never relents, and sees herself as just a reporter rather than a female reporter. After a period of career stagnation, she is back in the city soon after getting the news that her father a distinguished professor and renowned Dante Scholar is near death after an attack by thugs who broke into his home and beat him senseless. The police report asserts that the incident was a routine burglary, but Ellie is unconvinced. Her suspicions are soon confirmed when her father very nearly dies after a freak accident in the hospital’s ICU. When another professor dies under mysterious circumstances, Ellie believes that her answer may lie with her father’s teaching colleagues. She now sets out to investigate their secret lives, jealousies, and ambitions. But his is a dangerous thing to do as the investigation could prove to be the glue that brings her back together with her estranged father, or it could make her lose him forever.

Another excellent novel in the Ellie Stone Mysteries is the second novel in the series, No Stone Unturned. The novel begins with Ellie Stone as a 24-year-old journalist in an upstate New York daily, who is at a crossroads in her life and career. She had just decided to up and leave when she hears the police dispatcher say that a hunter had stumbled upon a dead girl in a pile of leaves in the woods. The only clue to go by is a Dr. Pepper bottle cap near the body, and three spots of oil on a nearby road to New Holland. The body is that of a twenty one year old local celebrity with quite a checkered history. As the first reporter on the scene, Ellie is presented with an opportunity to salvage a career on the wane. However, the case is one of the hardest cases she has ever had to crack, as all clues seemingly die before she even has a chance to dissect them. In an investigation that resembles a voyeuristic escapade than journalist work, she ferrets out the town’s secrets, and makes some lethal enemies along the way, enemies that would kill her off in a heartbeat if they felt she was getting too close to them.

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