cover image Cast the First Stone: An Ellie Stone Mystery

Cast the First Stone: An Ellie Stone Mystery

James W. Ziskin. Seventh Street, $15.95 trade paper (290p) ISBN 978-1-63388-281-2

Set in February 1962, Edgar-finalist Ziskin’s riveting fifth Ellie Stone mystery (after 2016’s Heart of Stone) takes the intrepid reporter from New Holland, N.Y., to Hollywood, Calif., to profile Tony Eberle, a New Holland native recently cast in his first film. Tony has disappeared with no explanation, however, and when the police find the body of the movie’s producer, he quickly becomes the prime murder suspect. With her own career at stake, Ellie races to solve the crime and prove Tony’s innocence. Her search is complicated by the machinations of a conniving female studio executive, whose own career hinges on concealing actors’ and producers’ unsavory activities. Ziskin’s depiction of the era’s everyday sexism, homophobia, and racism is pitch-perfect, and Ellie’s narration adds compassion and humanity to sensitive topics. Complex, richly drawn supporting characters—a crude but conscientious cop; Tony’s roommate, who prostitutes himself to help the actor’s career; their wickedly funny landlady; a middle-aged reporter struggling after a recent layoff—round out the cast. Agent: William Reiss, John Hawkins & Associates. (June)