|August, 1944, Prague is where the story begins with a seemingly casual exchange. But in wartime, is any act, any one thing, trivial? Decades later, in contemporary Chicago, the consequences emerge through the medium of television. Documentary filmmaker Ellie Foreman gets a letter prompted by the success of her show “Celebrate Chicago.” One viewer was the elderly Ben Sinclair. When he suddenly dies, his landlady Mrs. Fleischman finds Ellie’s name among his effects and writes to her. Ellie, who hasn’t a clue about a connection to Ben, is curious. And she agrees to help dispose of Ben Sinclair’s possessions. She became a filmmaker to help people tell their stories. The books and wartime relics Ben left behind—will they be enough to tell his?
All too soon, Mrs. Fleischman dies. Then Ben’s things are stolen from Ellie’s suburban home. The single mom, working to move past her ex, doesn’t know what to think. But she has to scramble for work and is soon embroiled in producing a campaign video for a steel magnate running for a Republican seat in the Illinois Senate. Despite these distractions, Ellie stays focused on her odd link to the dead man and turns to her father, a retired lawyer with deep roots in Chicago’s Jewish community, for insights into the mystery of Ben Sinclair. In time, a terrifying scenario develops that reaches back into several pasts. From the political present of the North Shore to the buried memories of the city’s ethnic neighborhoods, the components of Ben’s story eventually merge into an explosive climax.
"A masterful blend of politics, history, and suspense, this novel is well worth reading... sharp humor and vivid language... Ellie is an engaging amateur sleuth whose wisdom grows. Readers will hope they won't have to wait too long for Ellie's return." —Publishers Weekly, November 4, 2002
"Complicated... fascinating... Hellmann has a beautifully tuned ear... which makes many of her scenes seriously funny... her film-editor instincts tell her when to let a scene run on and when to cut away." —Dick Adler, Chicago Tribune
"Taut, compelling and gripping, An Eye For Murder is one of the best mysteries I've read in years! Fast-paced, cleverly crafted, complex drama...I highly recommend it." —Terri Figueroa, Romance Reviews Today
"Entertaining and well written... a surprising and satisfying conclusion... a clever thriller." —Ted Hertel, Mystery News
"A clever and compelling thriller." —November Pick, "The Rap Sheet", January Magazine
"Well-written, engagingly paced... exhibits marked talent. We're going to be hearing much more from this author." —Carl Brookins, Reviewing the Evidence
"...A well-written and exciting account of how murder changes an ordinary life. Readers will delight... and are sure to demand more." —Linda Hutton, Mystery Time, October 2002