Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Picture of Guilt (Ellie Foreman Mysteries #2), by Libby Fischer Hellmann (author), Nan McNamara (narrator)

The Red Herring Press, November 2016 (original publication May 2003)

I continue to read the Ellie Foreman books wildly out of order, which is hard on any series where there is ongoing character development and relationships change over time. And I continue to enjoy them immensely anyway. In this one Rachel is still only thirteen, Ellie's ex is still operating largely on resentment and entitlement, and she and David are maybe starting to realize that they have to work on their relationship if they want it to last. Mac, her director, has not yet demanded that she promise never to get involved in anything every again.

So when she sees a picture of an accused murderer in the newspaper, and she realizes that as part of a shoot at the harbor she has a picture of him somewhere other than the site of the murder at the time of the murder, none of the "don't get involved" advice has nearly the strength it gets later in the series. I mean, what could go wrong?

She does her civic duty, takes the videotape to the defense attorney (figuring at this point, with the trial about to start, the police won't be interested in new evidence for the defense), and testifies at trial. Unfortunately, the tape has some RF damage that she can't account for, and the prosecutor pretty much takes her apart. They guy is convicted anyway.

Even more unfortunately for Ellie, that's just the beginning. The prosecutor made her look unprofessional, she's now attached to a bit of controversy, and it turns out someone else is much more unhappy about her finding that tape than the prosecutor was. No one wants to hire her right now. Everyone assures her it will pass, but right now she can't get the work she depends on.

When she starts to suspect she's being followed, things start to get scary.

When the murdered woman's best friend tracks her down, claims that she (the friend) is being followed because she knows more than she told at the trial, and is shortly thereafter killed in a car crash, Ellie becomes convinced she needs to solve the crime(s) herself, while those around her, who care about her safety, think it's proof she should have kept her mouth shut, and maybe ought to take a vacation out of town for a while.

But that's not the Ellie we have, or will, come to love. She knows something is wrong, and she needs to set it right. She keeps digging. David is frustrated enough that she's taking risks when all he wants to do is keep her safe. He loves her, he values security, and he wants to keep Ellie safe--how can Ellie possibly find this confining? But it gets worse when her digging connects to a client of his...

It's a satisfyingly complex mystery, and Ellie, David, and even Rachel, at that awkward age of being aa new teen, are all going through some important emotional growth and challenges here.

Very much recommended.

I received a free copy of this audiobook from the author, and am reviewing it entirely by my own choice.