Sara Paretsky is an American author born in 1947 and who is best known for her detective novels following the adventures of V.I. Warshawski. Born in Ames, Iowa, Paretsky’s father, a microbiologist moved the family to Kansas in 1951. Zoning laws at the time meant that the family’s Jewish heritage limited their options with regards to living space, and they were eventually forced to take up residence on an old farm.
Order of V.I. Warshawski Series
|9||Windy City Blues||1995|
|10||V.I. For Short||1995|
|17||Photo Finish (Short Story)||2011|
|21||Wildcat (Short Story)||2017|
Order of Sara Paretsky Standalone Novels
|3||Sisters On the Case||2007|
|5||Taste of Life (Short Story)||2017|
Order of Sara Paretsky Non-Fiction Books
|1||Writing In An Age Of Silence||2007|
Paretsky’s mother was an alcoholic; along with her father’s harsh mannerisms, the author’s relationship with the pair was very strained. She eventually acquired a degree in Political Science from the University of Kansas and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago.
Sara Paretsky writes crime and detective novels. Most of her books have the same protagonist, a female investigator called V.I. Warshawski. Paretsky has been lauded for changing the way women in crime novels are perceived. Beyond merely writing novels, Paretsky also helped create an organization called Sisters in Crime that works to promote the image of women in the mystery genre.
Sara Paretsky Awards
Paretsky’s first major nomination was for the Anthony Award for Best novel, and it came in 1986. Since then, she has been nominated for various other Anthony awards, this along with winning one in 1992 for Best Short Story Collection.
She is also a winner of the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award (lifetime achievement) from the Crime Writer’s Association, this as well as the Gold Dagger Award and the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America.
Sara Paretsky Books to Movies
V.I. Warshawski was supposed to be the first movie in a series about Sara Paretsky’s protagonist. Released in 1991 and directed by Jeff Kanew, the movie was based on Deadlock, one of Paretsky’s books.
The book followed a seemingly hard-boiled female Chicago-based freelance private detective with a soft heart that enters into a relationship with an ex-Blackhawks hockey player.
When the player is killed in a boat explosion, the private detective, who has been paired with his 13-year-old daughter Kat, sets out to crack the case.
The movie took a few liberties with the original Deadlock story. Paretsky has repeatedly criticized the direction the screenwriters went, not only turning her serious mystery into a comedy but also placing her independent female detective under a male colleague because they didn’t think a woman had what it took to hold the lead role.
The movie performed poorly at the box office and plans for sequels were scrapped.
Best Sara Paretsky Books
If you want to understand Sara Paretsky as an author, then these books will probably give you the clearest picture of her style:
Blood Shot: V.I. Warshawski always keeps her promises. This is the only reason she is going back to her old South Chicago neighborhood despite the bad taste the idea leaves in her mouth. But her friend’s mother is dying, and Caroline is determined to find her father.
Victoria’s probing proves too successful, revealing corpses new and old and stirring up something deadly. This is a great book for first time Paretsky fans. Not only does the author inject plenty of well-paced mystery into the equation but there is enough action and excitement to satiate the impatient mind.
Victoria is forced to return to her old neighborhood to help out a friend. She soon ferrets out a dangerous mix of big business and chemical corruption. Every rock that Victoria turns over only reveals a new cover-up. And the threats only continue to escalate, leaving the private investigator with few avenues of escape.
Indemnity Only: John Thayer told Chicago Private Eye V.I. Warshawski that he was a banker. It isn’t until the two meet on a sizzling summer night that Victoria learns how hot he is. John wants Victoria to look into Anita Hill, her son’s girlfriend who also happens to be missing.
It doesn’t take Victoria long to discover that Anita Hill isn’t her real. She is even more shocked to learn that John’s real son is actually dead, which leaves her to question why she was sent on a wild-goose chase.
The stakes rise when Victoria realizes that a young woman’s life might be at stake. This book was something special when it first came out in 1982, revealing a female private investigator at a time when there were so few in the landscape.
While it broke so much new ground, this story isn’t without its problems, boasting so many holes and weaknesses. And the resolution is a little messy, depending on a number of coincidences to succeed. It is interesting to read the rest of Paretsky’s books and to watch as her skills undergo drastic improvements.