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EYE FOR MURDER, AN
by Libby Fischer Hellmann
Berkley, December 2002
316 pages
$6.50
ISBN: 042518739X


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Ben Sinclair, an elderly man with no family is found dead in his lonely room. Ellie Foreman, documentary film maker, whose most recent film, CELEBRATE CHICAGO, has been widely shown, receives a letter from Ruth Fleishman, Sinclair's landlady. Ellie goes to visit Mrs. Fleishman and finds a scrap of paper with her name on it next to an old photograph of a young couple and a baby, evidently taken during the late 1940s somewhere in Europe. Ruth takes Ellie down to the basement and shows her Ben's effects...3 cartons, 2 of clothes and one of miscellaneous belongings. Ellie takes the cartons of clothing with her to donate to a charity shop. The shop is closed so Ellie returns to Mrs. Fleishman's house, but duirng the short time Ellie has been gone, someone has entered the house, killed Ruth and taken the box left in the cellar.

The only thing left is a Zippo cigarette lighter. Ellie visits her father, who is living in a rather posh retirement home. He recognizes the lighter, a pre-war model with an engraving and initials on it, and tells Ellie a story of a time when he was much younger, before he met Ellie's mother.

Ellie has to put the investigation on hold when she finds out that her ex-husband has lost a large amount of money in the stock market and then disappeared, leaving Ellie, whose name he had forged on some documents, holding the proverbial bag. She takes a job making a documentary for senate candidate, Marian Iverson. Despite herself, she finds that Ms. Iverson is a likeable person even though a republican. Ellie wants to use some wartime newsreel footage showing that Iverson's father, a steel magnate, was human, and acted in a very un-Republican manner during WW II. The old film neatly ties all the many threads of this first novel, which has been rightfully nominated for a Best First Novel Anthony Award.

Reviewed by Barbara Franchi, May 2003

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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