V. I. Warshawski -- Victoria Iphigenia, which is why she prefers 'V.I.' -- is one of the first of the new breed of tough fictional female private detectives. She has a gun -- but it is usually locked in her safe at the critical moment -- and is adept in a brawl. But her choice of cases is usually motivated by a desire to help.
Most of her cases are set in seedier parts of Chicago. Never having been there, I can't say how accurate this fictional Chicago is, but it certainly feels grittily realistic.
Like many fictional detectives, her friends and relations seem to have a worse-than-average time of things, but it is good to see such a character with an extended circle of friends, rather than being a clichéd dysfunctional loner -- despite the obligatory failed marriage. (However, everyone is dysfunctional enough to drive the plot, and to make them interesting.)
Nine short stories.
It is difficult to write a good 'puzzle' short story, because there is not enough time for a succession of juicy red herrings. So these stories tend to concentrate on the characters, giving some background to V.I.'s friends, and aren't quite as traumatic as the novels.