Libby Fischer Hellmann
Crime fiction author Libby Fischer Hellmann claims she’s “writing her way around the genre.” With nine novels and twenty short stories published, she has written thrillers, suspense mysteries, historicals, PI novels, amateur sleuth, police procedurals, and even a cozy. At the core of all her stories, however, is a crime or the possibility of one.
She is a transplant from Washington, D.C., where, she says, “When you’re sitting around the dinner table gossiping about the neighbors, you’re talking politics.” Armed with a Masters Degree in Film Production from New York University, and a BA in history from the University of Pennsylvania, she started her career in broadcast news. She began as an assistant film editor at NBC News in New York, but moved back to DC where she worked with Robin McNeil and Jim Lehrer at N-PACT, the public affairs production arm of PBS. When Watergate broke, she was re-trained as an assistant director and helped produce PBS’s night-time broadcasts of the hearings.
In 1978, Hellmann moved to Chicago to work at Burson-Marsteller, the large public relations firm, staying until 1985 when she founded Fischer Hellmann Communications. Currently, when not writing, she conducts speaker training programs in platform speaking, presentation skills, media training, and crisis communications. Additionally, Libby also writes and produces videos.
Her first novel, AN EYE FOR MURDER, which features Ellie Foreman, a video producer and single mother, was released in 2002. Publishers Weekly called it a “masterful blend of politics, history, and suspense,” and it was nominated for several awards. That was followed by three more entries in the Ellie Foreman series, which Libby describes as a cross between “Desperate Housewives” and “24.”
A few years later, Libby introduced her second series featuring hard-boiled Chicago PI Georgia Davis, which Chicago Tribune describes as, “a new no-nonsense detective …. tough and smart enough to give even the legendary V.I. Warshawski a run for her money.” There are three books in that series so far: EASY INNOCENCE (2008) and DOUBLEBACK (2009), which was selected as a Great Lakes Booksellers’ Association “2009 Great Read,” and TOXICITY (2011), a police procedural ebook thriller that became the prequel to the Georgia Davis series.
Her 7th novel, SET THE NIGHT ON FIRE, (December, 2010) was a standalone thriller that goes back, in part, to the late Sixties in Chicago. Publishers Weekly describes it as “top-rate” and says, “A jazzy fusion of past and present, Hellman's insightful, politically charged whodunit explores a fascinating period in American history.” It was short-listed for ForeWord Magazine’s Book of 2010 in the suspense/thriller category.
A BITTER VEIL, Her most recent novel, a political thriller set in revolutionary Iran was released in April, 2012.
Libby has also edited a highly acclaimed crime fiction anthology, CHICAGO BLUES (October, 2007). In May, 2010, she published a collection of her own short stories called NICE GIRL DOES NOIR. In 2005-2006 she was the National President of Sisters in Crime, a 3,400 plus member organization committed to strengthening the voice of female mystery writers.
Libby blogs at “SAY THE WORD And You’ll Be Free,” http://libbyhellmann.com/wp, and also at “The Outfit Collective” at www.theoutfitcollective.com.
Where to find Libby Fischer Hellmann online
Where to buy in print
La Habana Perdida
Un thriller en gran parte ambientado en Cuba, que se extiende por tres generaciones de la misma familia de Mafia.
The Murder of Katie Boyle
I'm often asked how Ellie Foreman and Georgia Davis, my two series protagonists originally met. That's explained in this short story, written and published in 2009. It takes place prior to AN EYE FOR MURDER when Georgia was still a cop. The story was published in a limited numbered edition. It can also be found in NICE GIRL DOES NOIR, in print, audio and electronic formats.
Inocenia Fåcil (Spanish Version of Easy Innocence)
Cuando encuentran a la bella e inteligente Sara Long apaleada a muerte, es facil inculpar al hombre con el bate. Pero Georgia Davis, expolicia y recientemente convertida en investigadora privada, es contratada para indagar el incidente por peticion de la hermana del acusado, y lo que ella encuentra hace alusion a una respuesta diferente y mucho mas sombria.
An Eye For Murder
August, 1944, Prague is where the story begins with the casual exchange of information. Decades later, documentary filmmaker Ellie Foreman gets a letter from Ben Sinclair prompted by the success of her show "Celebrate Chicago." After Ben dies, Ellie begins a terrifying journey into the past of her own family as she tries to solve Ben's mystery. The story concludes with an explosive climax.
The Day Miriam Hirsch Disappeared
In 1938, teenage Jake Foreman spends time in Lawndale, a prosperous Jewish community on Chicago’s near west side where he develops a crush on Miriam Hirsch, an actress in the Yiddish theater. But Miriam only has eyes for Skull, who might or might not be a gangster. This short story became the prequel to the Ellie Foreman Mystery Series, which itself is the prequel to the Georgia Davis PI series.
The Last Page
Barbara Adams, head of the Windbrook Library in suburban Chicago, has died, apparently from a fall down the stairs of the library's basement. But when Julia Fairbanks, her closest friend's daughter pokes around, she finds troubling emails that indicate Barbara was not the victim of a heart attack, but a vicious killer instead. Can Julia find the murderer? Or will she end up on The Last Page too?
Your Sweet Man -- A short story
My story in the CHICAGO BLUES anthology (Bleak House,2007) was way out of my comfort zone, but that’s why I write stories. They allow me to stretch, to experiment with characters, plots, eras, and settings. This story is about a Blues bass player whose ability to love and forgive is tested by events beyond his control. There’s also a historical element:the story occurs in the '50s and'80s.
The Jade Elephant
"The Jade Elephant" was originally published in the EXPLETIVE DELETED anthology (Bleak House, 2007(, and then in the NICE GIRL DOES NOIR collection, 2011. It's set in the seamier, sleazier parts of Chinatown where menus are stained, kitsch is king, and even walking down the street after dark is risky. Add in two older criminals seeking redemption during Christmas, and the result was irresistible.
Nice Girl Does Noir -- A Collection of Short Stories
To read Libby Fischer Hellmann is to love Libby Fischer Hellmann. Her writing is tight, fast, and highly entertaining. But I had no idea Libby was so versatile.
The collection of stories -- all previously published -- offer a wide variety of styles, tones, and topics. Funny. Dark. Poignant. Exciting. Surprising. Hardboiled. And, of course, Noir.
When pretty, smart Sara Long is discovered bludgeoned to death, it’s easy to blame the man with the bat. But when Georgia Davis — former cop and newly-minted PI — is hired to look into the incident, she discovers that some teen girls on Chicago’s North Shore have learned just how much their innocence is worth to hot under the collar businessmen.
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