“A smart and exciting story… deserves extra attention…Hellmann knows what people are willing to die for and that knowledge makes her work shine.” —Dick Adler, Chicago Tribune
"This sequel to An Eye For Murder has it all – action, excitement, increasing tension – with the usual family complications... Highly recommended." —Library Journal
“A tale of darkness and evil in Chicago that keeps you turning the pages… Libby Fischer Hellmann made quite a splash last year with An Eye For Murder. This year’s A Picture of Guilt proves that she’s here to stay.” —Ruth Jordan, Books n Bytes
“An exciting new adventure… better written than the first… will keep you up late at night… highly recommended!” —Mystery Times
“Hellmann owes a debt to fellow Chicagoans Sara Paretsky (complex plotting) and Barbara D’Amato (excellent research) – but she’s the brash young thing making this formula new again. I can’t wait for the next book!" —Robin Agnew, Aunt Agatha’s
The big news story in Chicago is the murder trial of Johnny Santoro, a dock worker whose girlfriend has been killed. Most Chicagoans are betting on a quick guilty verdict, but Ellie Foreman has doubts about his complicity—Santoro is strangely familiar to her. Checking back to the outtakes of a video project in progress while the murder took place, Ellie finds evidence that could save Santoro from a lifetime behind bars. It seems the perfect alibi, but the tape is compromised by radio interference and Santoro goes to jail. Almost immediately, Ellie’s world begins to shift: a suspicious vehicle follows her, the Chicago mob shows up, and the FBI wants to question her. She doesn’t have answers, but she has questions of her own about the radio transmissions. Everything indicates that someone wants something from her, something bigger than the Santoro case. If only she could figure out what it is...
A Picture of Guilt follows Ellie’s award-winning debut in An Eye for Murder.
In Hellman's fast-paced second Ellie Foreman mystery (after 2002's An Eye for Murder), the divorced mother and producer of documentaries and training films belatedly realizes that outtakes on one of her features may furnish an alibi for a Chicago dock worker about to go on trial for the brutal murder of his girlfriend. To her credit, her decision to come forward is reflexive, though she's unprepared for the battering she takes on the witness stand or for the jury's rejection of her evidence. Ellie's good deed results in even more punishment when she begins to lose clients concerned that her disclosure of the footage evinces scruples in possible conflict with her duties to them. These professional difficulties prove to be secondary when she realizes that the bodies piling up are all connected with the murder trial. Ellie's detective skills consist of little more than intelligent persistence, coupled with luck. While the struggles with such people as her rebellious teenage daughter, her aging father and her dependable but overprotective boyfriend humanize her, their resolutions are all too predictable. The book's near-apocalyptic climax, yet another disaster averted by chance, reinforces the feeling that the well-meaning Ellie is out of her depth. The author might better serve her heroine by matching Ellie's limited abilities with a mystery of similar scope. FYI: An Eye for Murder is a nominee for an Anthony Award for Best First Novel.