Set in New Holland, New York during the 1960’s, a time when professional women in the workplace were viewed with skepticism if not open hostility and just prior to the sexual revolution, newspaper reporter Ellie Stone is tired of being pushed off into boring community stories while a less talented male coworker gets plum assignments. Fast Jack Donovan was enjoying a bit of rabbit hunting when he stumbled onto the shallow grave of Jordan Shaw, a lovely twenty-one year old college student and daughter of the local judge. Ellie’s services as a photographer were requested to assist the police department in their murder investigation. Police have little to go by beyond an oil spot and Ellie suspects the Dr. Pepper bottle top she found in the grass could prove important.
Hired by Judge Shaw to find out what happened to his daughter, Ellie begins interviewing Jordan’s overly protective friends while looking for the vehicle responsible for the distinctive oil spots. Thanks to the post mortem exam, Ellie learns Jordan was using an IUD which likely means she was sexually active, not something proper young ladies did during the early ‘60’s. Ellie also discovers New Holland has a peeping tom and Jordan had close ties to the academic department at Tufts University that went far beyond the standard curriculum. The closer Ellie draws to the truth, the more determined certain people are to keep their secrets and if that means committing another murder, then so be it.
Second of the Ellie Stone Mystery series, this thoroughly enjoyable whodunit shows how much our society has changed in the last fifty years while delivering a solid story. Ellie’s character is flawed just enough to add credibility without overshadowing the often twisted storyline. It is nice to see that even in the face of determined opposition from all sides, Ellie is committed to discovering the truth behind Jordan’s untimely death. As details about Jordan’s life are revealed, she becomes a more compelling figure. Naturally there are no shortage of suspects and it is a treat watching Ellie follow the breadcrumb trail through to the bitter end.
This is an evenly paced, well thought out tale that is sure to garner Ziskin a strong following.
No Stone Unturned is available in stores and via Amazon.