Poisoned Pen Press, Jan 2004, 22.95, 304 pp.
When the Soviet Union collapsed, honorable soldiers turned to stealing just to feed their families. When one of these veterans dies, his wife finds out his best friend betrayed him and she doesn't want anything to do with him even though his wife is her best friend. Over time, she learns about the diamond trade and earns enough money to support her family. She takes a vacation to the Grand Cayman Islands where she once again sees and rejects the man most responsible for her husband's death. She goes to the United States where her best friend is working as a prostitute in Chicago.
Ellie Foreman, maker of industrial videos receives one in the mail that shows a woman waiting in a room and two naked men who come in and kill her. Ellie investigates the woman's death which leads to her being in a deserted construction site waiting to die at hands of people who believe she knows too much.
The link between the Russian woman and the videotape is the beginning of a story of greed, corruption and money laundering by prominent citizens (Russians and others). Libby Fisher Hellmann is a fabulous raconteur who writes about people in dire circumstances doing the best they can to survive. AN IMAGE OF DEATH is an entertaining amateur sleuth novel inside a survivor thriller.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner