Books : reviews

V. I. Warshawski (series)

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.)

Sara Paretsky.
V. I. for Short.
Penguin. 1995

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 6 December 1996

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.

Sara Paretsky.
Hard Time.
Penguin. 1999

Sara Paretsky.
Total Recall.
Penguin. 2001

Sara Paretsky.
Signet. 2003

Sara Paretsky.
Fire Sale.
Hodder & Stoughton. 2005