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James W. Ziskin books in order

James W. Ziskin is an American multi-award-winning author of mystery novels.

He is best known for writing the Ellie Stone Mysteries, which has won the Anthony, Barry, and Macavity Awards.

A trained linguist, Ziskin attended the University of Pennsylvania where he studied Romance languages and literature. Upon finishing his postgraduate studies, he tried his hand in photo-news production and writing in New York, ultimately serving as Director at NYU's Casa Italiana.

Ziskin then spent a decade and a half in Hollywood’s post production industry, during which he successfully managed expansive international operations within the subtitling/localization and visual effects domains.

He also spent two years working and studying in France, and a considerable amount of time in Italy and India.

Ziskin, who is fluent in Italian and French, currently resides in Boston.

He is agented by Kimberley Cameron of Kimberley Cameron and Associates.

More about James W. Ziskin

Genre: Mystery

Born: 1960

United States


Non Series

  • Bombay Monsoon (2022)

Ellie Stone Mystery

  1. Styx & Stone (2013)
  2. No Stone Unturned (2014)
  3. Stone Cold Dead (2015)
  4. Heart of Stone (2016)
  5. Cast the First Stone (2017)
  6. A Stone's Throw (2018)
  7. Turn to Stone (2020)
Non Series

Detailed book overview

Non Series

Bombay Monsoon

The last thing Danny wants to see published is his obituary.

The year is 1975. Danny Jacobs is an ambitious, young American journalist who’ s just arrived in Bombay for a new assignment. He’ s soon caught up in the chaos of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’ s domestic “ Emergency.”

Willy Smets is Danny’ s enigmatic expat neighbor. He’ s a charming man, but with suspicious connections. As a monsoon drenches Bombay, Danny falls hard for Sushmita, Smets’ s beguiling and clever lover— and the infatuation is mutual.

"The Emergency," a virtual coup by the prime minister, is only the first twist in the high-stakes drama of Danny’ s new life in India. The assassination of a police officer by a Marxist extremist, as well as Danny’ s obsession with the inscrutable Sushmita, conspire to put his career— and life— in jeopardy. And, of course, the temptations of Willy Smets’ s seductive personality sit squarely at the heart of the matter.

Democracy is fragile and the lines of loyalty and betrayal often cross and cannot be untangled.

Author: James W. Ziskin
First Release: 2022
ISBN: 978-1608095841
Publisher: Oceanview Publishing

Ellie Stone Mystery

Styx & Stone

"If you were a man, you'd make a good detective."

Ellie is sure that Sgt. McKeever meant that as a compliment, but that identity-a girl wanting to do a man's job-has throttled her for too long. It's 1960, and Ellie doesn't want to blaze any trails for women; she just wants to be a reporter, one who doesn't need to swat hands off her behind at every turn.

Adrift in her career, Ellie is back in New York City after receiving news that her estranged father, a renowned Dante scholar and distinguished professor, is near death after a savage bludgeoning in his home. The police suspect a routine burglary, but Ellie has her doubts. When a second attempt is made on her father's life, in the form of an "accident" in the hospital's ICU, Ellie's suspicions are confirmed.

Then another professor turns up dead, and Ellie's investigation turns to her father's university colleagues, their ambitions, jealousies, and secret lives. Ellie embarks on a thorny journey of discovery and reconciliation, as she pursues an investigation that offers her both a chance at redemption in her father's eyes, and the risk of losing him forever.

Author: James W. Ziskin
First Release: 2013
ISBN: 978-1616148195
Publisher: Seventh Street Books
No Stone Unturned

Ellie Stone is a professed modern girl in 1960s' upstate New York, a young reporter playing by her own rules while searching for a killer and putting her own life at risk.

A dead girl in the woods. Three little oil spots on the dirt road. A Dr Pepper bottle cap in the shallow grave. And a young reporter, armed with nothing but a camera.

Evening is falling on a wet, gray, autumn day in upstate New York. Ellie Stone, twenty-four-year-old reporter for a small local daily, stands at a crossroads in her career and in her life. Alone in the world, battling her own losses and her own demons, Ellie is ready to pack it in and return to New York a failure. Then she hears the dispatch over the police scanner.

A hunter, tramping through a muddy wood north of the small town of New Holland, has tripped over the body of a twenty-one-year-old society girl half-buried in the leaves. Ellie is the first reporter on the scene. The investigation provides a rare opportunity to rescue her drowning career, but all leads seem to die on the vine, until Ellie takes a daring chance that unleashes unintended chaos.

Wading through a voyeuristic tangle of small-town secrets, she makes some desperate enemies, who want her off the case. Dead if necessary.

Author: James W. Ziskin
First Release: 2014
ISBN: 978-1616148836
Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Stone Cold Dead

December 21, 1960, the shortest day of the year: Fifteen-year-old Darleen Hicks slips away from her school bus as it idles in the junior-high parking lot, waiting to depart. Moments later the bus rumbles away without her, and she is never seen again.

New Year’s Eve, 1960: The small upstate town of New Holland, New York, is in the grips of a severe cold snap, when Ellie Stone receives a late-night caller—Irene Metzger, the grieving mother of Darleen Hicks. She tells Ellie that the local police won’t help her, that they believe Darleen has run off with some older boy and will return when she is ready. Irene has read Ellie’s stories in the paper on an earlier murder case and believes Ellie is her last hope.

Ellie Stone is on a chilling journey to a place of uncertainty, loss, teenage passion, and vulnerability—where Ellie’s questions are unwanted and her life is in danger.

Author: James W. Ziskin
First Release: 2015
ISBN: 978-1633880481
Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Heart of Stone

In the waning days of a lazy August holiday, Ellie Stone is enjoying a bright Adirondack-lake morning. Nearby, two men plummet to their deaths on the rocks below, just a few feet short of the water of a dangerous diving pool. 

A tragic accident, it seems. But the state police quickly establish that the two victims--one, a stranger to the lake and, the other, a teenaged boy from a nearby music camp--surely didn't know each other. That anomaly is strange enough, but what really perplexes Ellie is the out-of-place station wagon parked twenty yards from the edge of the cliff.

Wading into a slippery morass of fellow travelers, free-love intellectuals, rabid John Birchers, and charismatic evangelicals, Ellie must navigate old grudges and Cold War passions, lost ideals and betrayed loves. She sticks her nose where it's unwanted, rattling nerves and putting herself in jeopardy. But this time, it's her heart that's at risk.

Author: James W. Ziskin
First Release: 2016
ISBN: 978-1633881839
Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Cast the First Stone

February 1962: CAST THE FIRST STONE Tony Eberle has just scored his first role in a Hollywood movie, and the publisher of his hometown newspaper in upstate New York wants a profile of the local boy who's made good. Reporter Ellie Stone is dispatched to Los Angeles for the story. But when she arrives on set to meet her subject, Tony has vanished. His agent is stumped, the director is apoplectic, and the producer is dead. Murdered.

Ellie is on the story, diving headfirst into a treacherous demimonde of Hollywood wannabes, beautiful young men, desperately ambitious ingénues, panderers, and pornography hobbyists. Then there are some real movie stars with reputations to protect. To find the killer, Ellie must separate the lies from the truth, unearthing secrets no one wants revealed along the way. But before she can solve Bertram Wallis's murder, she must locate Tony Eberle.

Author: James W. Ziskin
First Release: 2017
ISBN: 978-1633882812
Publisher: Seventh Street Books
A Stone's Throw

Ellie Stone, a young newspaper reporter in 1960s' upstate New York, investigates a double murder at an abandoned stud farm near glamorous Saratoga Springs. 

August 1962. A suspicious fire claims a tumbledown foaling barn on the grounds of the once-proud Tempesta Stud Farm, halfway between New Holland and Saratoga Springs, NY. The blaze, one of several in recent years at the abandoned farm, barely prompts a shrug from the local sheriff. That is until "girl reporter" Ellie Stone, first on the scene, uncovers a singed length of racing silk in the rubble of the barn. And it's wrapped around the neck of one of two charred bodies buried in the ashes. 

A bullet between the eyes of one of the victims confirms it's murder, and the police suspect gamblers. Ellie digs deeper. The double murder, committed on a ghostly stud farm in the dead of night, leads Ellie down a haunted path, just a stone's throw from the glamour of Saratoga Springs, to a place where dangerous men don't like to lose. Unraveling secrets from the past--crushing failure and heartless betrayal--she's learning that arson can be cold revenge.

Author: James W. Ziskin
First Release: 2018
ISBN: 978-1633884199
Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Turn to Stone

This 1960s-era locked-room mystery takes Ellie Stone to Florence, Italy--a seemingly idyllic setting, which in this case has sinister undertones.

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.

Author: James W. Ziskin
First Release: 2020
ISBN: 978-1633885523
Publisher: Seventh Street Books