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by Libby Fischer Hellmann
Poisoned Pen Press, November 2002
316 pages
ISBN: 1590580354

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

This one is from Poisoned Pen Press and I predict we're going to be hearing much more from this author. One of the neat things about this ordinary professional woman is just that. She isn't a superwoman. Ellie Foreman is the divorced mother of an eleven-year old, Rachel who lives in a suburb just north of Chicago. Ellie is doing okay as a talented free-lance producer of commercial videos. At least, she does okay when her ex remembers his fiscal obligations.

One day she gets a mysterious letter from a woman she doesn't know, about a man who died recently and had her name and address in his things. The letter and its subsequent connections to Ellie's family past and her increasingly dangerous present, propels Ms. Foreman into a battle of wits that in every way is believable for the reader.

Her protagonist's job is a nice platform to logically project her into an unending series of situations. Her skills and talents, if not ordinary, are certainly logical and not unusual. One of Hellmann's talents is her ability to cast her protagonist's actions and reactions in ways we ourselves might have, confronted with similar circumstances. She agonizes over bills and fences with her aging father who is more intimately involved with the beginnings of this story than he will admit, a story that has roots in Europe toward the end of World War Two.

Hellmann does a nice job of blending the more mundane parts of her protagonist's life with the ever increasing tension and suspense that come logically from ever more mysterious events and contacts. Where Hellmann falters is in some uses of searing violence and the rather tidy resolution to some subplots. There develops a curious feeling of distance at one point. In another novel these feelings might have doomed An Eye For Murder. But because the book is so well written, engagingly paced and exhibits marked talent, these are quibbles. I look forward in anticipation of more stories from Hellmann.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, November 2002

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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