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An Image of Death (Prime Crime Mysteries) Mass Market Paperback – February 3, 2004

4.0 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Chicago filmmaker Ellie Foreman specializes in video documentaries, but her career has a way of sliding into harrowing murder investigations, as it does in this powerful tale, the third in the series after last year's A Picture of Guilt. Foreman's receipt of a hand-delivered, unmarked surveillance videotape, apparently showing the cold-blooded murder of a young woman, ensures she gets involved in the police hunt for the woman's killer, if only at the fringes. At the same time, Foreman is filming a documentary for wealthy mover-and-shaker Ricki Feldman, a lady in a position to throw money and opportunities Foreman's way-opportunities that have their own dangers. When the police run out of leads in the murder case, Foreman shifts into high gear and uncovers a web of deceit connected to the break-up of the Soviet Union and the ensuing chaos and crime. Hellmann is adept at welding technical information about film-making, diamond cutting and other arcane subjects to strong characters. With her somewhat disreputable past, Foreman comes across as a complex and flawed heroine, who grapples with issues as large as murder and as mundane as an overdue visit to her father. Foreman's pluck and grit married to Hellmann's solid storytelling should win a growing audience.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

A powerful tale… Foreman’s pluck and grit married to Hellmann’s solid storytelling should win a growing audience… “ --Publishers Weekly, January, 2004

A compelling group of believable characters...plausible and engrossing. Highly recommended, even if you don't live in Illinois…” --Chicago Sun Times, February, 2004

“A smashing addition to the series…” --Midwest Book Review, January, 2004
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Product Details

  • Series: Prime Crime Mysteries
  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group; English Language edition (February 3, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 042519504X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425195048
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.9 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,097,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Libby Fischer Hellmann's AN IMAGE OF DEATH begins with a prologue in which a young woman who has lost a tooth is making her way to a house in a bitterly cold Chicago. The landscape is so menacingly empty, so flat, that she wonders if she will take a step and fall off the edge of the world. In a bit, the scene changes to a different part of Chicago, and we meet protagonist/narrator Ellie Foreman, who soon receives a mysterious video that appears to show a woman being murdered. The video is delivered anonymously, and Foreman, a documentary video producer, feels compelled to investigate even after delivering the video to the police. Of course, cop Georgia Davis tells her to stay out of it, but Foreman is disturbed. Why was the video given to her? Who is the woman, and who killed her?

While this tale unwinds in the present United States, in alternating chapters the clock turns back in the crumbling Soviet Union. Best friends Arin and Mika try to cope in Georgia as their husbands see their military careers evaporate when rubles stop flowing in from Moscow to support the troops. Months go by, and there is no money. What choices will these people make to survive?

This book is so full of yearning, struggling characters that it is amazing it sits quietly on a bedside table. You almost expect to hear it murmur and see it restlessly stir. The likable Foreman juggles a documentary on foster children, her teenage daughter, and a lover whose behavior is worrying her. Her father, who lives in an assisted living facility nearby, longs for the days when his friends weren't dying or coping with the onset of dementia. Foreman's lover, who was raised in foster care, is obsessed with a desire for blood ties.
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By A Customer on April 2, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've read all of Ms. Hellmann's work, and all have been wonderful. This may be her best work yet. The writing is polished, the prose of the back story especially evocative, the tale itself both sad and satisfying. Ellie continues to be a protagonist of real dimensions beset by very real personal problems. Although Chicago is always a marvelous character in Hellmann's work, here the story encompasses a much broader, more ambitious landscape in both time and geography, and the author does a superlative job of making it all vivid. I recommend this book highly.
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By A Customer on March 5, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Libby Fisher Hellmann has a remarkable ability to tell the tale of ordinary people who rise to the challenge of extraordinary circumstances. AN IMAGE OF DEATH is a well told thriller.
The characters are clearly drawn. Ellie Foreman, must once again investigates a mystery, and what a mystery! It originates in Russia when a woman must overcome poverty, death, and betrayal to rebuild her life in a new country. That is just the beginning, and Ms. Hellmann takes us on a fascinating journey.
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Format: Paperback
The more I read of Libby Fischer Hellmann's work, the more I respect her as an author. I think "A Bitter Veil" is the standout from the four I've read so far, but these works all have major things in common: great central concepts, strong grounding in facts, believable characters, and plots that advance briskly without gaps in logic. Next up is an entry in the Georgia Davis series. For an author to manage one series well is tough enough, let alone two.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Although this mystery was outside my usual pickings (50s pulp, gritty crime, hardboiled detective), I found it to be very well written. It was a fast paced read and quite enjoyable. Ellie Foreman, a divorced Jewish mother of a teenager, works as a film editor in Chicago. One evening a mysterious video is dropped on her doorstep. After viewing it and believing it to be an authentic murder, Ellie seeks police assistance. Meanwhile, a second story unfolds as two couples in Soviet Georgia deal with the corruption and chaos as the Soviet Union falls. Of course, the two stories intersect, but along the way, Ellie figures out what's going on. There is a strong backdrop of history, including connections to the Holocaust and to the fall of the Soviet Union and the havoc that ensued. A fine piece of writing that is definitely worth your time.
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Format: Paperback
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 hisitantly 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. WaAr
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved the different points of view which the author employed in telling the story. The book also had some unexpected twists, which added to the suspense. I enjoyed the book, and look forward to more in the Ellie Foreman Mysteries.
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