WINDY CITY BLUES by Sara Paretsky


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No doubt about it: V.I. ("don't call me Vicki") Warshawski doesn't make the same splash in this collection of nine short stories, mostly reprints, as in her novels (Tunnel Vision, 1994, etc.). Oh, V.I. herself cuts the same flinty, swaggering figure, and fans will note that Paretsky, perhaps the last private-eye writer of distinction to take the short whodunit seriously, conscientiously sweats the details of suspects and motives and alibis in "Pietro Andromache," "Strung Out," "Settled Score," and "Skin Deep." What fans won't find is room for V.I. to sink gradually into one of those sinister novel-length plots that develops a deepening sense of social evil; the social causes invoked here seem pro forms, and stories like "At the Old Swimming Hole," "Three-Dot Po," and the long headliner, "Grace Notes," seem designed mainly as pretexts for V.I.'s incessant reunions with her friends and relations. Even the Hammett pastiche, "The Maltese Cat," whose clever recycling of proper names (Corinne, Iva, Flitcraft) gives the tale a wonderfully effervescent veneer, turns out to have nothing in reserve. Enough here to keep Paretsky's many fans going until their next novel-length fix, then, but nothing likely to win new followers.
Pub Date: Oct. 13th, 1995
ISBN: 0-385-31502-3
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1995


FictionBREAKDOWN by Sara Paretsky
by Sara Paretsky
Kirkus Interview
Sara Paretsky
author of BRUSH BACK
July 28, 2015

No one would accuse V. I. Warshawski of backing down from a fight, but there are a few she’d be happy to avoid. High on that list is tangling with Chicago political bosses. Yet that’s precisely what she ends up doing when she responds to Frank Guzzo’s plea for help in Brush Back, the latest thriller from bestselling author Sara Paretsky. For six stormy weeks back in high school, V.I. thought she was in love with Frank. He broke up with her, she went off to college, he started driving trucks for Bagby Haulage. She forgot about him until the day his mother was convicted of bludgeoning his kid sister, Annie, to death. Stella Guzzo was an angry, uncooperative prisoner and did a full 25 years for her daughter’s murder. Newly released from prison, Stella is looking for exoneration, so Frank asks V.I. for help. “Paretsky, who plots more conscientiously than anyone else in the field, digs deep, then deeper, into past and present until all is revealed,” our reviewer writes. View video >


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