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Paretsky, Sara

warshawski vic hospital hattie

(US, 1947– )

V. I. Warshawski (Vic) is the private eye heroine of Paretsky's novels and was one of the female sleuths who helped redefine the genre. Tough, streetwise, intelligent, and fiercely independent, she tackles the cases that come her way with gusto, often to the dismay of her close friends Lotty and Max and her neighbour Mr Contreras, co-owner of Vic's dog, Peppy. Warshawski has a smart mouth and quick wit, and she is physically skilful too, using her martial arts expertise to escape from violent situations. Paretsky's Chicago is sharply observed, the gritty industrial heritage of the city, the graft and corruption that developed with it are there in all their seedy reality. Warshawski is hired by Mr Thayer in Indemnity Only (1982) to find his son's missing girlfriend. When she goes to interview the boy she finds his corpse and her client is revealed to be an imposter. Bitter Medicine (1987) tells the story of Consuelo, a pregnant teenager and her young husband, Fabiano. Warshawski takes her to hospital when she becomes ill but tragedy follows and Warshawski is determined to find out exactly what happened. In Guardian Angel (1992) Warshawski is outraged when Hattie Frissell, who has the messiest house in the street and a menagerie of dogs, is taken to hospital and neighbours get granted guardianship over Hattie and have the dogs put to sleep.

Sue Grafton, Sarah Dunant.

See CRIME  CS

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