Chicago filmmaker Ellie Foreman is back, and she's tackling her most dangerous case yet in this dark amateur sleuth thriller from critically acclaimed crime writer Libby Fischer Hellmann.
An Image of Death sees Ellie in the midst of producing another video documentary, financed by a successful Chicago real estate developer. But things take an unexpected turn one winter night when a mysterious package arrives anonymously on Ellie's doorstep. Inside, she finds a surveillance video apparently showing the murder of a young woman. Who was the victim, why was she murdered, and what is her connection to Ellie?
Despite being pushed to one side by the cops, Ellie begins to uncover the victim's dark history, forged in Eastern Europe at the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Her search for answers takes her into the murky world of money laundering and diamond dealing, ultimately ending up at a deserted construction site in the hands of people who believe she knows too much....
Ellie's latest outing as an amateur sleuth comes hot on the heels of Libby Fischer Hellmann's 2002 Anthony-nominated thriller An Eye for Murder and the 2003 Picture of Guilt. Packed with memorable characters, and neatly tying together a number of gripping plotlines, An Image of Death has been praised by mystery fiction fans as insightful, compelling and entertaining.
©2004 Poisoned Pen Press (P)2016 Libby Fischer Hellmann
Ellie Foreman is really, really trying to be good--to go along with the variously expressed wishes of her dad, Mac, and David that she stay out of trouble. She goes to a ladies' charitable lunch as the guest of occasional nemesis Rikibeth Feldman, and isn't surprised when it turns into a request to make a video for the project. The project, it seems, is transitional housing for kids aging out of foster care.
How can that lead to trouble?
But this is Ellie, with her curiosity, her need to help, and her general gift for attracting trouble. Her doorbell rings one evening, and her daughter Rachel answers the door to find a van driving away, and a package left at their door.
It's a videotape. When she plays it, Ellie is relieved that Rachel got bored and went upstairs.
It's a video of what appears to be a a murder.
Ellie does the sensible thing, and gives the video to the police, specifically to Georgia Davis, whom she and Rachel know from when she was the youth officer. Except that, of course, being Ellie, she makes a copy at Mac's studio before she does.
What follows is, for Ellie, a confusing and alarming series of events. She can't leave that video with its apparent murder alone, and can't shake the idea that whoever brought it must have had some reason for wanting her to see it. Meanwhile, David has gotten word that his uncle--long believed dead in the Holocaust with all of his family except David's mother, Liesl, may be alive. The basis of this is an anonymous letter to a former neighbor back in Freiburg, but David reacts badly when Ellie gives perfectly sensible advice about being careful of anonymous letters.
Hellmann always does good character development, and the tangled relationships and storylines here make a very good read. The foster care project is not the sideline it might have been, but becomes intertwined with both the murder shown in the video and David and Ellie's complicated and strained relationship.
It's a very good mystery, with Ellie continuing to learn and grow from her sometimes terrifying experiences. We also see Georgia Davis perhaps experiencing the first strains which lead to her later moves. Very much worth reading.
I received a free copy of this audiobook.
I love all genres of books. However, when I listen to audio books as I clean, garden, drive they are better with a lot of heat!
I was given this book in return for an honest review. I love mysteries, this book is not exception. A woman is murdered and Ellie, a videographer and mother, gets a video of it in the mail. She hesitantly takes it to the police even though she doesn't trust police. Why was this sent to her?? That's what the police want to know and so does Ellie. Since Ellie has a history of getting involved in things that she shouldn't, she is warned by the police to stay out of it. She of course doesn't listen, and this the book unfolds. This is not just a mystery, it has back stories, and side stories that involve her adopted husbands thirst for knowledge of his family among other things. This book has murder,mystery, intrigue, deception and wonderful characters that you will be rooting for. A must read for mystery lovers.
Nan McNamara was very good with the delivery of the story.
She makes the characters pop and is great with accents.
You never know what's waiting for you around the corner.
4 1/2 stars
This is a well-crafted story and may be the quickest audio book listen that I’ve ever done. It helped that it takes place in and mentions locations that I’m intimately familiar with. I wanted to keep listening not only to find out what would happen next but to hear where it would take place.
The story centers around Ellie Foreman (Wonder if the name came from the old Foreman motors?), a film producer, who is dragged into a murder when a video tape, showing that murder, is dropped off at her house. Ellie has had some trouble with the law in the past, so is a little squeamish about calling in the police, but she does. Ellie is also unwillingly pulled into making documentaries about foster children and construction ground breaking despite her insistence that she isn’t a documentary maker. From there, things escalate as we learn details about the murder as Ellie digs up clues that involve the Russian version of organized crime. On more than one occasion, her life is put in jeopardy. The story is quick moving, if a bit dated from a technology point of view. Parts of the story take place at the time of the break up of the Soviet Union and parts at the start of the 21st century. The events as they unfolded kept me listening, The story line is clearly set up for a sequel, but the book is complete, there are no cliffhangers or any blatantly unfinished business..
I received this book as a gift and almost stopped listening before hitting chapter 2. Ellie came across as so incredibly whiny and dislikable, that I almost gave up. Luckily, I didn't as that only lasted for the first chapter or so. Past that point, the narrator did a remarkable job in holding my attention. Her skill with various accents is laudable.
While I was able to figure out the who behind the ending, if not the specifics, that didn't bother me. Overall, this proved to be very entertaining listen. I’ll happily recommend this to my mystery-loving friends and will be seeking out other Hellman books.
Ellie Foreman receives an unsolicited video by an unknown person at her home. She is an independent producer of industrial videos and thought it may pertain to work. Instead, what she receives is what looks like the murder of a young woman in some basement. Thus begins her desire to find the truth. Meanwhile, in Russia we learn of the lives of two friends, Mika, and Arin as the Soviet Union crumbles and their lives change drastically.
How these two stories come together, I found interesting. This is a slow moving mystery and not a fast paced thriller. As the stories development, we get to know what makes Ellis tick and what she deals with on a regular basis. But since is the third installment of the Ellie Forman mysteries, I found I was lacking in knowing her backstory and why she was so paranoid at the beginning. Other than that, I enjoyed how it all seems to mesh and make for a satisfying story.
I rate on how mush I enjoyed a book, I am not a book critic.
Well written, realistic murder mystery. The narrator was very good, well paced, good characterizing and tone variations.
Why is it not my type of book: no humor, no real excitement or action. I found it boring, predictable and drawn out.
If you prefer a realistic murder mystery with out humor or action, this is for you.
"This audio book was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review."
I have read several other books in this series and loved each and every one of them. This book did not fail to impress me, I enjoyed it very much. The writing was excellent as allways and I am definitely a fan of. the narration...
A young woman's murder is recorded by a security camera, and someone leaves the VCR tape at Ellie's door. Ellie, of course, just can't resist the impulse to get involved in the subsequent investigation. She's just a nosy video producer, not a PI, and she makes plenty of mistakes in her search for clues. But then, so does the police detective.
The identity of the actual gunman hardly matters in this mystery; call him Russian Thug X. This is really the heartbreaking story of the victim's slide from happy young wife and mother to criminal to corpse following the breakup of the USSR. There's no "happy ever after" to this tale.
I received a free copy of this audio book via AudiobookBoom in exchange for an honest review.
I love Libby Fischer Hellman, but I actually had not read this volume (#3 in the series). So listening to it was great. I knew from Libby's writing that this was the one where we would meet Georgia Davis, who now has her own series. It's a great mystery but also a great crossover. Yes, I would recommend this book to a friend!
I like the vulnerability of Ellie Forman. She's not perfect so I can relate her very well. But she's smart, as is Georgia Davis.
Oh my, too hard to choose one. I liked it from beginning to end.
I really would have enjoyed that, but couldn't make it work for me. It's just fine to listen in segments. The story is clear and you won't lose the thread.
I always like Libby's narrators. They make her novels come to life. Nan McNamara was no exception. Plug this in to your iPhone or listen in your car. It will pass the time quickly!
I download over 100 books a year. I don't even know how to go about my day without listening to a title. It's my happy place!
I'm new to the Ellie Foreman Mysteries so perhaps my first intro should not have been book three. I feel like I missed a lot that was alluded to in this listen and it would have helped me to understand the character a bit more.
As it is, this was a really good mystery. There are layers and layers of intrigue before you get to the final resolution and quite a bit of that you don't necessarily see coming.
I liked how the main mystery held center court but that there was all of these little "life goes on" story lines as well that made Ellie's world so real.
The narration was really well done. The Yiddish and German came across as natural and real, which was a treat.
Report Inappropriate Content