January 18, 2012
Breakdown A V.I. Warshawski Novel Sara Paretsky G.P. Putnam's Sons: 431 pp., $26.95
May 13, 2007 |
TWENTY-five years ago, an assertive, take-no-prisoners private investigator working the mean streets of Chicago arrived on the mystery scene, leading critics and readers to herald her creator as the newest heir to Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. A seemingly common designation turned out to be groundbreaking because both Sara Paretsky and her creation, V.I.
December 14, 1988 |
I don't have such grand ideals as a detective. Not only do I not think I can save the world, I suspect most people are past redemption. I'm just the garbage collector, cleaning up little trash piles here and there. --V. I. Warshawski in "Bitter Medicine" by Sara Paretsky For the better part of the 20th Century the professional private investigator in American fiction was in the male domain. The writers were men and their tough, case-hardened protagonists were, too.
September 16, 2001 |
It's a few days before Christmas, five lions are chewing on a naked woman in the city zoo, and TV reporters are having a field day. The zoo lies half in the 87th precinct and half in the 88th. So officers Carella and Meyer of the 87th and Ollie Weeks of the 88th catch the squeal, and we are entrapped by the spell of Ed McBain in the guise of the Magical Mr. Mistoffelees. Redheads are ice-picked to death and fed to the lions.
July 31, 2005 |
The age of prequels is upon us. In film, fashion and publishing, revivals rule and, often, mimicry. When talent flags, bring on the remnants and the remakes. That's not the case with the reissue of Charles McCarry's "The Tears of Autumn," a wonderful web of espionage first spun in 1975, close enough to President Kennedy's assassination, on which the plot turns, to have reverberated in readers' memories.
January 18, 2012 |
One of the many pleasures of Sara Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski novels is that the sharp-tongued, short-tempered detective often seems to be following clues that lead not just to the heart of whatever mystery is at hand, but also into the red-hot center of the zeitgeist itself. Recent books have dealt with the trauma of the Iraq War and the dangers of the Patriot Act. In the 1980s, when V.I. burst onto the scene as one of publishing's first "hard-boiled" female detectives, the plots were spun of the concerns of those times, from corporate malfeasance to labor racketeering.