A Picture of Guilt, Libby Fischer Hellmann, Poisoned Pen Press, $24.95/Berkley Prime Crime, $6.50.
Poisoned Pen Hardcover
Her working life begins to disintegrate when no-one will hire her after the trial - other corporations are afraid she'll release footage of their corporate videos. Her personal life takes a turn for the worse as well as she runs into trouble with both her teenage daughter and her boyfriend (the trouble with her boyfriend may make you want to smack her), and the vortex of events that sweep her along suck you in as a reader as well - this is a book that's hard to put down. It's packed with lots of interesting stuff about film making, about Chicago's water supply, about raising a teenager, even stuff about radio frequencies. Hellmann certainly 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. The careful detail and attention to plot, as well as the very compelling main character, make these mysteries a standout, and I can't wait for the next book - especially if the writing keeps improving exponentially with each installment.
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