Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Libby Fischer Hellmann  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Mystery

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1949 in Washington DC

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Illinois Connection

Hellmann has lived in the Chicago area for over thirty years.

Biographical and Professional Information

Libby Fischer Hellmann is an award-winning writer who, according to the ''Chicago Sun-Times'', "has carved out an enviable position in the local mystery scene." Her books have been called "masterful" and "powerful". Her awards include being a finalist in the Benjamin Franklin Awards for mystery-suspense writing and a Readers' Choice award for Best First Book. Along with the books she has written, Hellmann also edited the acclaimed crime fiction anthology - [ ''Chicago Blues''] .When Hellmann is not writing, she conducts executive training programs. She has a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MFA in Film Production from New York University. After eight years in television news, she spent eight years at Burson-Marsteller, a large public relations firm.In 2005-2006 she was the National President of Sisters in Crime. Hellmann also blogs with [ "The Outfit Collective"].

Selected Titles At Your Library

A picture of guilt /
ISBN: 1590585151. OCLC Number:

. .

The big news story in Chicago is the murder trial of Johnny Santoro, a dock worker whose girlfriend has been killed. Most Chicagoans are betting on a quick guilty verdict, but Ellie Forman has doubts about his complicity--Santoro is strangely familiar to her. Checking back to the outtakes of a video project in progress while the murder took place, Ellie finds evidence that could save Santoro from a lifetime behind bars. It seems the perfect alibi. But the tape is compromised by strange radio interference and Santoro goes to jail. Almost immediately, Ellie's world begins to shift : a suspicious vehicle follows her, the Chicago mob shows up, and the FBI wants to question her. She doesn't have answers, but she has questions of her own about the radio transmissions. Everything indicates that someone wants something from her, something bigger than the Santoro case. If only she could figure out what it is."--back cover.

An image of death /
ISBN: 042519504X. OCLC Number:

Berkley Pub. Group,. New York :. 2003.

A shot to die for /
ISBN: 0425203107. OCLC Number:

Berkley Prime Crime,. New York :. ©2005.

Returning from a video shoot at "The Lodge," a newly renovated Lake Geneva resort, Ellie Foreman befriends a woman who claims that her ride abandoned her at a roadside rest stop. But Ellie's kindness is brutally cut when a mirror-windowed van pulls up and slides open its side door-and the woman is shot dead. Even with her history of sleuthing, Ellie is not eager to get involved-until the victim's family arrives and begs for information. And when a second shooting occurs, Ellie decides to poke around on her own. What she uncovers is an elaborate web of lies, murder, and family loyalty that has plagued the town for years-and places Ellie in the crosshairs of a killer.

Jump Cut :
ISBN: 1464205191. OCLC Number:

. .

Chicago video producer Ellie Foreman is back after a decade, entangled in a web of espionage, murder, and suspicion that threatens to destroy what she holds most dear.

Easy innocence /
ISBN: 1932557660. OCLC Number:

Bleak House Books,. Madison, Wis. :. ©2008.

When pretty, smart Sara is found bludgeoned to death, it's easy to blame the man with the bat. But Georgia finds a much different darker answer on Chicago's North Shore- privileged schoolgirls have learned just how much their innocence is worth to hot-under-the-collar businessmen.

Doubleback :
ISBN: 1606480537. OCLC Number:

Bleak House Books,. Boulder, CO :. ©2009.

Little Molly Messenger is kidnapped on a sunny June morning. Three days later she's returned, apparently unharmed. Molly's mother, Chris, is so grateful to have her daughter back that she's willing to overlook the odd circumstances. A few days later, the brakes go out on Chris's car. An accident? Maybe. Except that it turns out that Chris, the IT manager at a large Chicago bank, may have misappropriated three million dollars. Not convinced that his daughter is safe, Molly's father hires PI Georgia Davis to follow the money and investigate Chris's death.

Set the night on fire /
ISBN: 0984067655. OCLC Number:

Allium Press of Chicago,. [Chicago, Ill.] :. ©2010.

Someone is trying to kill Lila Hilliard. During the Christmas holidays she returns from running errands to find her family home in flames, her father and brother trapped inside. Later, she is attacked by a mysterious man on a motorcycle ... and the threats don't end there. As Lila desperately tries to piece together who is after her and why, she uncovers information about her father's past in Chicago during the volatile days of the late 1960s ... information he never shared with her, but now threatens to destroy her.

Nice girl does noir :
ISBN: 1461087295. OCLC Number:

[CreateSpace],. [Place of publication not identified] :. ©2011.

ToxiCity :
ISBN: 0984014101. OCLC Number:

. .

Ten years before Easy Innocence, PI Georgia Davis was a police officer on the force in a Chicago suburb. And while homicides are rare on the North Shore, three bodies turn up in quick succession-- all of them dumped in waste disposal dumpsters or landfills. The investigations into the murders test the mettle and professionalism of a combined police task force. Along the way, they also test the strength of Georgia's relationship with one of the detectives working the case. While Georgia, her detective boyfriend Matt, and his sometime partner John Stone pit their skills against those of an inventive killer, the daughter of a real estate mogul-- who just happens to have her eye on Matt-- complicates matters.

A bitter veil /
ISBN: 0983193819. OCLC Number:

Allium Press of Chicago,. Forest Park, Ill. :. ©2012.

It all began with a line of Persian poetry ... Anna and Nouri, both studying in Chicago, fall in love despite their very different backgrounds. Anna, who has never been close to her parents, is more than happy to return with Nouri to his native Iran, to be embraced by his wealthy family. Beginning their married life together in 1978, their world is abruptly turned upside down by the overthrow of the Shah, and the rise of the Islamic Republic. Under the Ayatollah Khomeini and the Republican Guard, life becomes increasingly restricted and Anna must learn to exist in a transformed world, where none of the familiar Western rules apply. Random arrests and torture become the norm, women are required to wear hijab, and Anna discovers that she is no longer free to leave the country. As events reach a fevered pitch, Anna realizes that nothing is as she thought, and no one can be trusted ... not even her husband.

Havana lost /
ISBN: 193873338X. OCLC Number:

Red Herring Press,. Chicago, IL :. ©2013.

On the eve of the Cuban Revolution, headstrong 18-year-old Francesca Pacelli flees from her ruthless Mafia-boss father in Havana to the arms of her lover, a rebel fighting with Fidel Castro. Her father, desperate to send her to safety in the US, resorts to torture and blackmail as he searches the island for her. So begins the first part of a spellbinding saga that spans three generations of the same family. Decades later, the family is lured back to Cuba by the promise of untold riches. But pursuing those riches brings danger as well as opportunity, and ultimately, Francesca's family must confront the lethal consequences of their choices.

Nobody's child /
ISBN: 1938733460. OCLC Number:

. .

Chicago PI Georgia Davis heads deep into the secretive and dangerous underworld of Chicago's sex trafficking business to help her sister, Savannah.

The incidental spy /
ISBN: 1938733843. OCLC Number:

. .

Young Lena Bentheim is forced to flee Nazi Germany for Chicago in 1935, leaving her family and boyfriend behind. After learning English, she eventually finds a new life as a secretary in the Physics Department of the University of Chicago. She meets and marries another German refugee scientist and has a child. Then tragedy strikes, and Lena is forced to spy on the nuclear fission experiments at the U of Chicago. A novella set in the early years of the Manhattan Project, The Incidental Spy is another fascinating historical thriller by Libby Fischer Hellmann, also the author of the highly acclaimed stand-alone thrillers Set the Night on Fire, A Bitter Veil, and Havana Lost.

War, spies, and bobby sox :
ISBN: 1938733975. OCLC Number:

. .

"As World War II rages across Europe and the Pacific, its impact ripples through communities in the heartland of America. A farm girl is locked in a dangerous love triangle with two Germans soldiers held in an Illinois POW camp ... Another German, a war refugee, is forced to risk her life spying on the developing Manhattan Project in Chicago ... And espionage surrounds the disappearance of an actress from the thriving Jewish community of Chicago?s Lawndale. In this trio of tales, acclaimed thriller author Libby Fischer Hellmann beautifully depicts the tumultuous effect of war on the home front and illustrates how the action, terror, and tragedy of World War II was not confined to the front lines"


Double Back

  • Autumn Great Lakes Great Read, Great Lakes Bookseller Association, 2009
  • Easy Innocence

  • Starred Review, Library Journal
  • An Eye for Murder

  • Winner, Readers Choice for Best First Novel, Love is Murder conference
  • Havana Lost

  • Finalist, Thriller of the Year contest, Review Magazine, 2013
  • Notable Page-Turner Book of the Year, Shelf Unbound Magazine, 2014
  • Honorable Mention, Best Fiction Book, Chicago Writers Association, 2013
  • Nobody's Child

  • Finalist, Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense
  • Finalist, Shamus Award, Best PI Indie Novel, 2015
  • Finalist, Chicago Writers Association Fiction Category
  • Finalist, ?Fiction

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

    Inside Cuba Program

    Author Libby Hellmanns Havana Lost takes place in Cuba during the Revolution of 1958-59 and during Cubas Special Period in the early 1990s. In addition to visiting Cuba, Hellmann did extensive research on the country and its history. With Cuba capturing current headlines, Hellmanns PowerPoint presentation, highlighted by many of her own photos, will deepen understanding of our neighbor only 90 miles away. (Adults; 60 min; $275 with permission to sell books)

    A Sketch of Iran The Country and its Culture Program

    Hellmanns A Bitter Veil takes place in revolutionary Iran, which required extensive research by the author. Hellmann shares a slide presentation about Irans people, architecture, customs, and culture. With Iran so much in the news today, this presentation moves beyond the rhetoric to deepen understanding of this fascinating country. (Adults; 60 min; $275 with permission to sell books)

    Self-publishing Doing It by the Book Program

    Compulsively readable thriller author Libby Fischer Hellmann explains her move to self-publishing and how to do it right. Workshop includes the differences, benefits, drawbacks, and costs of doing it yourself compared to traditional publishing. Includes handouts and how-tos. (Adults; 60 min; $300 with permission to sell books)