A V.i. Warshawski Novel
Another bumpy trip for Chicago's tough, gruff super P.I.-lawyer V.I. Warshawski (Deadlock, etc.). There's a heart of gold under her wisecracking rap, and this time it leads V.I. (less pretentiously, Vic for Victoria) into investigating the murder of Dr. Malcolm Tregiere. The doctor was allied with Vic's longtime friend Dr. Lotty Herschel in a low-income area clinic for women. Pregnant, unmarried teen-ager Consuelo Alvarado was his patient. Vic's charitable attempt to help get a job in the suburbs for the girl's worthless boyfriend Fabiano led to an emergency dash for the nearest hospital (Friendship) when Consuelo went into early labor. A short time later, Consuelo and baby were dead; Dr. Tregiere, who'd visited the girl in the hospital, is then found murdered; Lotty's clinic is besieged by anti-abortionists, the files ravaged; Vic is being courted by the hospital's obstetrics head, Dr. Peter Burgoyne, and wondering why her very expensive lawyer ex-husband is representing Dieter Monkfish, scruffy leader of the anti-abortionists. Something's not kosher at the very-much-for-profit hospital with its slick brochures and designer-groomed director Alan Humphries. Add to this Fabiano's gang leader Sergio, who holds a grudge against our girl from her lawyering days, and a raft of colorful subsidiary characters. Paretsky makes the most of it all with a dense, convincing, fast-moving plot, a dauntless but vulnerable heroine, a fine-tuned ear for real-life dialogue and a sharp eye for the Chicago scene. Superior stuff.