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Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


Books by Debra Hamel:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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Kindle | paperback (UK)

KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


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paperback | hardcover (UK)

SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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Hellmann, Libby Fischer: An Eye for Murder

  Amazon  

4 stars

Documentary filmmaker Ellie Foreman's interest is piqued when she learns that an elderly stranger, Ben Sinclair, has died in a Chicago boarding house leaving a scrap of paper with her name on it among his possessions. Ellie's attempts to understand the deceased's interest in her, beginning with a meeting with the dead man's landlady, lead her into a much larger mystery: Sinclair's death is somehow connected with Nazi-era intrigue and Chicago politics, an illicit love affair, and more than one murder. While tracing Sinclair's steps on her own time, Ellie is hired to produce a campaign film for a senatorial candidate, the scion of a long-dead Chicago steel magnate, who may have skeletons of her own to conceal.  Ellie's work on the campaign dovetails neatly into her private investigations, and she finds herself in increasingly hot water the closer she gets to the truth Sinclair had been trying to unravel before his death.

Libby Hellmann's An Eye for Murder is the first in a series of mysteries featuring filmmaker Ellie Foreman. It's a good read with a rather complex plot that, however, can become confusing if one isn't paying strict attention. In Ellie Hellmann has created a likable protagonist with an interesting circle of friends and family: Ellie, the divorced mother of a twelve-year-old daughter, has a fiscally irresponsible ex-husband, an unusually but charmingly devoted gardener, a cigar-smoking character of a father, and, as we see blooming in this first book in the series, a love interest in the person of fifty-something David Linden. Hellmann saddles Ellie with some unfortunate vices: she has a history of kleptomania, and it is hinted that she makes occasional use of drugs (not to mention alcohol and tobacco). In future installments these imperfections may serve to round out her character, but in the present book they seemed tacked on rather than organic. I will be interested to read future books in the series to see how Ellie develops, and how her ostensibly safe career as a documentarian involves her in new difficulties.

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