Sara Paretsky revolutionized the mystery world in 1982 when she introduced V.I. Warshawski in Indemnity Only. By creating a believable investigator with the grit and the smarts to tackle problems on the mean streets, Paretsky challenged a genre in which women typically were portrayed as either vamps or victims. Hailed by critics and readers, Indemnity Only was followed by fifteen more best-selling V.I. Warshawski novels. The New York Times writes that Paretsky “always makes the top of the list when people talk about female operatives,” while Publishers Weekly says, “Among today’s P.I.s, nobody comes close to Warshawski.”
Not only has Paretsky’s own work broken barriers, she has also helped open doors for other women. In 1986 she created Sisters in Crime, a worldwide organization to support women crime writers, which earned her Ms. Magazine’s 1987 Woman of the Year award. More accolades followed: the British Crime Writers awarded her the Cartier Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement; Blacklist won the Gold Dagger from the British Crime Writers for best novel of 2004, and she has received the honorary degreee of Doctor of Letters from several different universities. The actress Kathleen Turner played V.I. Warshawski in the movie of that name and Paretsky’s work is celebrated in Pamela Beere Briggs’s documentary, Women of Mystery. Today Paretsky’s books are published in 30 countries.
Paretsky’s latest novel, Critical Mass, exposes V.I. to a long-buried piece of the history of the atom bomb. While on a favor for a friend, V.I. becomes enmeshed in a chain of events that involves Martina Saginor, a physicist whose work lead to modern atomic power. Booklist says, “Vic is at her stubborn, reckless, compassionate best in this complicated page-turner about selfish secrets passed down through generations. Paretsky is on a roll lately, her long-running, trailblazing series at its most dynamic since the early days.”
Critical Mass (2013)
Tunnel Vision (1994)
Burn Marks (1990)
Bitter Medicine (1987)
Indemnity Only (1982)