#7 Turn to Stone

September 1963. 

In Italy for a symposium honoring her late father’s academic work, “girl reporter” Ellie Stone is invited to spend a weekend outside Florence with some of the scholars attending the event. A suspected rubella outbreak leaves the ten friends quarantined in the bucolic setting with little to do but tell stories to entertain themselves. Making the best of their confinement, the men and women spin tales, gorge themselves on fine Tuscan food and wine, and enjoy the delicious fruit of transient love. But the late summer bacchanalia takes a menacing turn when the man who organized the symposium is fished out of the Arno. “Morto.” As long-buried secrets rise to the surface, Ellie must figure out if one or more of her newfound friends is capable of murder.

Early praise for TURN TO STONE

“Original and compelling—and a brilliant twist on the beloved locked room mystery. The incredibly talented James Ziskin has combined the lure of 1963 Florence, a love of Italian literature, and an homage to the classics. But Ziskin doesn’t stop there—TURN TO STONE is a touching and important exploration of history, with a series of life-changing consequences that will keep you riveted to the page. James Ziskin is a knockout storyteller.”
—Hank Phillippi Ryan, Nationally best-selling author of The Murder List 

 

“This delightful new entry in the Ellie Stone series is a lively, lovely mix of Agatha Christie, Donna Leon, and the Decameron.  Its charm can be found equally in the story’s narrator Ellie Stone, in the beautifully evoked Italian landscape, and in the complexities of the mystery itself.  For anyone not familiar with this excellent series, it’s high time you got to know James Ziskin’s work. Turn to Stone is a great place to begin.”

—William Kent Krueger, author of This Tender Land

 

 

“Our favorite ‘girl reporter’ takes us to the beautiful country, only to meet up with la morte. A new Ellie Stone adventure is truly a reason to raise a glass.”

—Lori Rader-Day, Edgar Award-nominated author of Under a Dark Sky

 

“A mystery that puts an inventive twist on Boccaccio’s Decameron, TURN TO STONE takes the reader on a richly-imagined and entertaining journey to Florence and the Tuscan countryside in 1963. And the engaging, indomitable Ellie Stone, who holds her liquor but never her tongue, is the perfect traveling companion.”

—Lou Berney, Edgar Award-winning author of November Road

 

 

“What’s better than a new Ellie Stone mystery? Ellie Stone in Florence, where wine and whisky flow as freely as does the razor-sharp wit of this amateur sleuth, a sophisticated modern young woman of the early 1960s. Ellie probes the mystery behind the death of an Italian professor, laying bare the secrets of an eclectic circle of academics. Sharp, entertaining, and vividly enjoyable.”
—James R. Benn, author of When Hell Struck Twelve

 

“Quarantined in an Italian palazzo with Ellie Stone is pure bliss. James Ziskin’s TURN TO STONE is another terrific entry in an outstanding mystery series.” 

—Hallie Ephron, New York Times bestselling author of Careful What You Wish For

 

“Ellie Stone is my new favorite mystery heroine. In Turn to Stone, it’s 1963 and Ziskin takes smart, resourceful Ellie out of her native New York with a visit to Italy. With a plot as twisty as a Florentine alley, and a clever nod to Boccaccio’s Decameron, Ziskin once again treats us to delightful language and a spot-on portrait of an independent young woman determined to find her place in the professional world. Readers will wish for a time machine and a plane ticket so they could go along for the ride!”

—Deborah Crombie, New York Times bestselling author of A Bitter Feast

 

“TURN TO STONE is the best book yet in James Ziskin’s extremely fine series. Adrift in Florence for an event honoring her difficult and recently deceased father, Ellie Stone must not only solve a mysterious death, but must also navigate the mysteries of her own heart. Emotionally bold and beautifully written.”

—Timothy Hallinan, author of the Poke Rafferty and Junior Bender novels

 

“Packed with nifty clues and plenty of Ellie Stone’s trademark derring-do, there’s a great deal of pleasure to be had in Ziskin’s deliciously rich trip to Italy. But the real joy—besides the tight puzzle plot—is the setting of the story in its time; a pitch-perfect depiction of a moment, with shadows of the past and glimpses of the future. What a treat!”

—Catriona McPherson, multi-award-winning author of A Step So Grave

 

“I adore Ellie “if you weren’t a woman you’d make a great detective” Stone! Think Mad Men’s Peggy Olsen meets Nancy Drew, directed by Hitchcock. Ellie’s smart, independent, and prickly—while also vulnerable and, yes, lovable. In her latest outing, Ziskin nods to Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None,” with ten scholars isolated in the Florentine countryside. A murder mystery studded with
art, philosophy, and gastronomy, it’s intellectual feminist noir, stile italiano. Brava, Ellie!”
—Susan Elia MacNeal, New York Times-bestselling author of the Maggie Hope series

 

“Turn to Stone is a beautifully written mystery that reminds us how the shadows of the past can provide unsettling replies to our most important questions. This intelligent, witty, and complex tale is fascinating from the first page to the last.”

—Cynthia Kuhn, author of the Agatha-award-winning Lila Maclean Academic Mysteries

 

“James Ziskin thrills again in Turn to Stone as reporter and photographer Ellie Stone brings her considerable investigative skills to bear on the mysterious death of a professor in 1963 Florence. In what ends up to be a classic locked-room mystery, Ellie doesn’t let period attitudes about women prevent her from digging up stories from Italy’s fascist past that help solve the current mystery. With well-drawn characters and a richly described setting, Ziskin brings Italy to life as the backdrop to this compelling story. A must-read!”

—Edith Maxwell, author of the Agatha-nominated Quaker Midwife Mysteries

 

 

 

“James Ziskin’s latest Ellie Stone novel, TURN TO STONE, is a suave and dauntless adventure that perfectly characterizes the era. With her savvy journalistic instincts, not to mention insatiable curiosity, Ellie is both world-wise and a telling portrait of a woman treading the very male-centric world of the 1960s as she heads to Italy for a conference commemorating her late and complicated father. Ziskin’s seamless use of the Italian language and colorful Tuscan atmosphere immediately draws you in to take a captivating look at post-war Italy. When the conference organizer turns up dead, Ellie is not only confronted with a mystery she feels compelled to solve, but her own confusing feelings of a father whom she loved but never understood. With a host of memorable characters who emulate certain facets of her father and herself, Ellie dives into a twisting tale from the war-torn past that promises dangerous consequences for the future. Ellie is a self-made modern woman and tackles this satisfying mystery with her own brand of panache and, of course, her customary glass of Dewar’s in hand.”

—L.A. Chandlar, National Best-selling Author of the Art Deco Mystery Series

 

 

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