Who Is Sara Paretsky?
Sara Paretsky is an influential crime novelist best known for her heroine V.I. Warshawski, a Chicago private investigator. She has earned enormous respect from her peers and has been awarded the coveted Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Achievement from the British Crime Writers Association. Sara Paretsky's books are published in almost thirty languages!
V.I. Warshawski and Sara Paretsky are as different as they are alike and this page will explore both of their worlds. Even if you typically don't enjoy a good mystery novel, you will enjoy Paretsky's books for a myriad of other reasons.
I am a huge fan.
Photos and quotes courtesy of the official Sara Paretsky website.
Sara with the Diamond Dagger in the vault at Cartier's in London.
Six reasons to love Sara Paretsky
Winner of the Diamond Dagger Award
- Sara Paretsky was instrumental in gaining respect for women mystery writers. It was evident that women crime novelists weren't getting the same reviews or publicity or accolades that were being awarded to male mystery writers. So she formed the Sisters in Crime world-wide support group. There are 3400 members ranging from "authors, readers, publishers,agents, booksellers and librarians bound by our affection for the mystery genre and our support of women who write mysteries."
- Sara Paretsky knows how to keep her readers poised for the next plot.
- Her stories grab you from the first page and keep you engaged until the end. And there's always that feeling that there's more to be told.
- Sara Paretsky isn't just a writer - she's a concerned citizen, too. She has been a tutor and a mentor. She's concerned about poverty, about discrimination, about the effects of war. She is involved in her community. She makes a difference.
- Sara Paretsky LOVES the Chicago Cubs. She and her heroine V.I. experience all the highs and lows of the baseball season depending upon how the "cubbies" are doing.
- Sara Paretsky loves chocolate! She says, "It takes a lot of chocolate to get me through a book." Gotta love that!
Keep in touch by subscribing to Sara's newsletter. There will be a short note from Sara and notices of her upcoming events and book signings.
"It takes a lot of chocolate to get me through a book!"— Sara Paretsky
Who Is V.I. Warshawski?
Private Detective Personified
Excerpts from the website: About V.I.
"V.I. grew up under the shadow of the old steel mills on Chicago's South Side. Her father was a cop; her mother a refugee from Mussolini's Italy. Her mother had aspired to an operatic career but ended up giving music lessons to neighbors' children. She died when V.I. was not quite 16, a loss that still haunts the detective. The eight red Venetian wine glasses that her mother brought with her from her hometown in Orvieto are V.I.'s most prized possessions."
"...She drinks Johnnie Walker Black Label whiskey and red wine...attended the University of Chicago on an athletic scholarship, and went to law school there as well..."
"Never underestimate a man's ability to underestimate a woman".— V.I. Warshawski
Girls in the Game Club - Jumping Rope with Sara
A Very Special Girls' Club
Here's a cool picture of Sara Paretsky jumping rope with a group of Chicago school girls. It's posted with more pictures on Sara's official website.
The girls in this photo all belong to a program that's close to Sara Paretsky's heart. It's called Girls in the Game which is a club for inner-city Chicago girls to play sports which, in turn, teaches them self-respect, gives them self-confidence and teaches them team building.
There is no recess in most Chicago schools, these days, and most of the extracurricular sports programs available are geared to boys, only.
This is the only chance that most school girls in Chicago have to play sports.
Sara Paretsky's Childhood Home in Kansas
Sara Paretsky Close Up
What You Might Not Know...
Sara Paretsky is a passionate writer about passionate causes.
When I first started reading her V.I. Warshawski novels, I didn't know a thing about Paretsky's personal life. I just knew that she could turn out an enthralling piece of fiction.
From her first summer in Chicago as a college student working with kids and trying to change ideas about civil rights, she knew that she couldn't live anywhere else but Chicago.
In an interview with The Progressive, she says,"...It also made me see what the stakes were in the civil rights movement. And it made me see what real hatred was like and the forms that it took. But it also made me understand how powerless ordinary people feel in their lives."
There is a wonderful review of Sara Paretsky's life in the U.K. publication "Spectator" by author P.D. James. You can read it at this link:
It speaks of her difficult childhood in rural Kansas where she and her family were the only Jews in a mostly Christian, white population.
Although her parents were highly educated, Sara, being the only girl, was denied the educational opportunities that were granted to her five brothers. It's not surprising, then, that she became a champion for women's rights, social justice and was vehemently opposed to the Vietnam war.
Paretsky began writing at a very early age. She has said that she can't remember a time when she couldn't read. But she wrote privately and not until she was past the age of 30 did she consider writing as a career.*
Lucky for us that she did!
*The Spectator, 5/24/2007
Guardian Angel - A Mini-Review
When an elderly woman is talked into moving her money into a worthless investment by a shady attorney, V.I. Warshawski moves into action to bring the crooks to justice. Much to her chagrin, V.I.'s discovers that her ex-husband may be involved in the scheme...
Lots of action from beginning to end!
Indie Store Finder - Check it out!
- Indie Store Finder | IndieBound
I'd like to give a shout out to all the wonderful independent bookstores around the world. If you purchase one of these books through Amazon, I'll get a bit of credit. But I'd love to see you browse through your local independent bookstores.
Which of these V.I. Warshawski novels is your favorite? I know, I know...it's hard to choose!
A Totally Different Genre
This is Sara Paretsky's latest work set in the small town in rural Kansas where she was raised. It's a novel loosely based on her early life there.
( And V. I. Warshawski is nowhere in sight.)
Discover more about Sara Paretsky
Follow these links for more information about this remarkable writer.
- Author Sara Paretsky
Sara Paretsky's Official Website. There you will find many more photographs plus news archives, tour information and an event calendar. You can listen to podcasts of Sara reading from her new book "Bleeding Kansas". Be sure to sign up for her newslet
- The Rag Blog
This blog has an excellent interview with Sara Paretsky discussing her views on Feminism, Social Action and Detective Fiction.
- Sisters In Crime: World-Wide Organization for Women Writing Mysteries
Sisters in Crime, the world-wide organization for women writing mysteries.
- Britannica article on Sara Paretsky
American mystery writer credited with breaking the gender barrier in detective fiction with her popular series of novels featuring V.I. Warshawski, a female private investigator. Her books are set in and around Chicago.
A brief poll about Sara Paretsky
Are you a huge fan? If you've never read her books, has this look at Sara Paretsky piqued your interest?
Which of the following best describes your thoughts about Sara Paretsky?
Quote from the Product Description:
"...When V. I. Warshawski is asked to find a man who's been missing for four decades, a search that she figured would be futile becomes lethal.
Old skeletons from the city's racially charged history, as well as haunting family secrets-her own and those of the elderly sisters who hired her rise up to brush her back from the plate with a vengeance. A young cousin whom she's never met arrives from Kansas City to work on a political campaign; a nun who marched with Martin Luther King Jr. dies without revealing crucial evidence; and on the city's South Side, people spit when she shows up.
Afraid to learn that her adored father might have been a bent cop, V. I. still takes the investigation all the way to its frightening end..."
This book is not a novel. Writing In An Age Of Silence, is a non-fiction work which chronicles the events leading to Sara Paretsky's journey as a writer and why she speaks so compellingly about civil liberties through her private investigator heroine, V.I. Warshawski.
You can find this as well as excerpts from her other novels at the Sara Paretsky official website.
Sara Paretsky Videos - Three short videos in Sara Paretsky's own words...
Mystery author Sarah Paretsky talks briefly about her novels Body Work and Hardball. Plus she reads a bit from Body Work. I think these short videos bring these novels to life. Whets the appetite for more!
Just click on whichever you'd like to see, first, and it will begin.
The photographs in this lens are used with permission from Sara Paretsky and her official website. However, this lens is my creation and must not be copied.
Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed this look into Sara Paretsky's world.