When Chicago filmmaker Ellie Foreman receives a message telling her of Ben Sinclair's death, she's puzzled. She didn't know the elderly man, so how did her telephone number wind up in his coat pocket? A visit to his residence raises more questions than it answers. Simply agreeing to drop off two boxes of Ben's effects at a charity for his landlady has dire consequences; suddenly, the older woman is dead, Ellie's home has been burglarized and the boxes are taken.

Who was Ben Sinclair? And what did he want with her? The only leads Ellie has are a faded photo, a URL for a genealogical website, some e-mail and an old Zippo lighter. Unbelievably, her investigation leads her right to her own father. The sins of people from his past may date back to Nazi Germany, and learning the truth is a danger all its own.

AN EYE FOR MURDER is a fast-paced, involving book with a very complex plot. Hellmann's deft use of humor keeps the proceedings from becoming grim, despite certain aspects of the story. I look forward to reading many of Ellie Foreman's further exploits in coming years. (Dec., 336 pp., $6.50)
Reviewed by: 
Catherine Witmer