Home ARCs Mini Review: Turn to Stone by James W. Ziskin

Mini Review: Turn to Stone by James W. Ziskin

by Aleen @ Lampshade Reader


Turn to Stone by James W. Ziskin features an amateur sleuth by the name of Ellie Stone. Her humorous inner monologue made for an interesting read and for me, an introduction to her character.



Turn to Stone by James W. Ziskin

turn to stone

Book #7 in the Ellie Stone series, it’s setting in 1960s Florence Italy, makes for an bucolic and somewhat mysterious read. This story focuses a lot on post WWII Italy and the topics of fascism.

Not wanting to delve and discuss the nuances of those topics, I would like to point out that the author did a good job in incorporating it into the story and make it the main focal point. Ellie’s heritage and background made for the perfect character to raise those issues, all the while trying to find out who killed the Professor who was supposed to hand her an award, and who in turn, had a sordid past.

Ellie’s interactions with the people connected to her late father, and that of the murdered Professor, was at times funny and others a great lesson in patience with those whom she had to be in close contact with. I found those interactions amusing.

“At length, the Old Fashioneds worked their magic and head back and mouth open wide, he commenced to snore louder than the four jet engines roaring outside the window.”

I’d also like to point out that reading this story made me hungry. All those pasta dishes, deserts, and such, made me wish for my own cook like Berenice.

It could be a little slow reading at times, but the slow paced storytelling was fitting with the setting and topic.


I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Mini Review: Turn to Stone by James W. Ziskin
by James W. Ziskin
Series: Ellie Stone #7
Published by Seventh Street Books
on January 20th, 2020
Genres: Amateur Sleuths, Fiction
Pages: 344
Format: Print
Source: Publisher
Purchase: Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars



Florence, Italy, August 1963. In Italy to accept a posthumous award for 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 symposium. A suspected rubella outbreak leaves the ten friends quarantined in the bucolic setting with little to do but tell stories to entertain themselves. Deciding to make 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 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.

ARC Historical Series



About James W. Ziskin

James Ziskin Headshot

James Ziskin is the author of Turn to Stone (Jan 21, 2020; Seventh Street Books), the latest in the Anthony® and Macavity Award-winning Ellie Stone Mysteries. His books have also been finalists for the Edgar®, Barry, and Lefty awards.

A linguist by training, Ziskin studied Romance languages and literature at the University of Pennsylvania. After completing his graduate degree, he worked in New York as a photo-news producer and writer, and then as Director of NYU’s Casa Italiana. He spent fifteen years in the Hollywood postproduction industry, running large international operations in the subtitling/localization and visual effects fields.

His international experience includes two years working and studying in France, extensive time in Italy, and more than three years in India. He speaks Italian and French, and currently lives in Boston.


(Clicking on Image will take you to Amazon series page)

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Crystal @ Lost in Storyland

It’s neat that this book builds the setting and incorporates elements of post WWII Italy into the story. The foods sound delicious; I would get hungry reading this book!

Mary Kirkland

I haven’t read this author but it sounds like a good book.

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