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Crime Series:

Susan Wittig Albert's China Bayles

Lawrence Block's Bernie Rhodenbarr (Burglar)

Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder

Lilian Jackson Braun's Qwilleran and Koko (Cat Who)

Lee Child's Jack Reacher

Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum

Janet Evanovich's Alex Barnaby

Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg's O'Hare/Fox series

Sue Grafton's Kinsey Milhone

Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher

Kerry Greenwood's Corinna Chapman

Wendy Hornsby's Maggie MacGowen

Tanya Huff's Vicki Nelson (Blood)

Val McDermid's Kate Brannigan

Shane Maloney's Murray Whelan

Sara Paretsky's V. I. Warshawski

J D Robb's Eve Dallas and Roarke

Dorothy Sayers'Lord Peter Wimsey

Michael W. Sherer's Blake Sanders

Zoe Sharp's Charlie Fox

John Sandford's Lucas Davenport

John Sandford's Virgil Flowers

John Sandford's Kidd & LuEllen

Fantasy/Science Fiction series:

Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series

Isaac Asimov's Foundation and Robots series

Mary Janice Davidson's Undead series

Anne McCaffrey's Dragonrider series

Anne McCaffrey's Crystal Singer series

Anne McCaffrey's Brain Ships series

Anne McCaffrey's Talents (psychic, rowan, tower) series

Anne McCaffrey's Petaybee series

Anne McCaffrey's Freedom series

Anne McCaffrey's Acorna series

George R. R. Martin's Game of Thrones and more

Tanya Huff's Vicki Nelson (Blood Lines)

Tanya Huff's Confederation

Terry Pratchett's Discworld series

Spider Robinson's Callahan and Stardance series

Roger Zelazny's Amber Series


See also: Val McDermid's Kate Brannigan series page; 160x480

See also: Kerry Greenwood's Phyrne Fisher page; 160x480

See also: Tanya Huff's Vicki Nelson (Blood) series page; 160x480

See also: Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series page; 160x480

See also: Sue Grafton's Kinsey Milhone series page; 160x480

See also: Lilian Jackson Braun's Cat Who series page; 160x480

See also: J D Robb (Nora Roberts) Eve Dallas and Roarke series page; 160x480

See also: Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey series page; 160x480

Festivale's Pictorial Guide to Melbourne and Victoria, click here; 160x480

Sara Paretsky Series Page

Chicago's Premier P.I.: V. I. Warshawski

V. I. (Vic) is a private investigator specialising in financial matters. She appreciates a fine suit, and good Italian shoes, but that doesn't stop her from wielding a gun, or practising the odd martial art.

She lives Chicago, and her adventures give Paretsky an opportunity to give a detailed sense of Vic's environment. One of the great joys for crime readers is the use of the setting as a character, and a clue, not just background. Finely drawn characters with strengths and weaknesses, and actual lives and relationships, as well as homes and places of work are the hallmark of this genre.

The female dick has become almost a cliche, so much so that Sisters in Crime have asked those submitting to this year's Scarlett Stiletto short story competition to try other variations. But Paretsky's V.I. is credited with being the forerunner.

What saves the female investigators from cliche is their reality, the sense that they are part of a real place, with V.I. it's Chicago. Although I wish sometimes Paretsky wouldn't assume that her readers are familiar with peculiarly American jargon, like 'el' and 'kitty corner' (that where humans and cats respectively relieve themselves, yes?).

V.I. is single, in the early volumes she is still struggling to get her late father's police buddies to accept that being a wife-and-mother isn't much of a career for an intelligent woman.

Her parents' legacy (mother half-Italian half-Jewish, father Polish) is mixed. From her mother she learnt opera, and she finds relief in a few scales. Vic jogs in lieu of dieting.

The stories are prefaced by acknowledgements that lead one to believe that the details come from research. I can't judge since I haven't been to Chicago except in the odd film or book. Perhaps a reader who has visited/lived in Chicago can help?

There is a tendency for the professional private investigator, V.I. to, in the books, solve family problems, which raises questions, but in later years V.I. does get to show her working teeth.

book cover, Indemnity Only, by Sara Paretsky
Indemnity Only, Sara Paretsky

Indemnity Only (1991)

Meeting an anonymous client on a sizzling summer night is asking for trouble. Especially when the client lies and tells V I Warshawski he's the prominent banker John Thayer, looking for his son's missing girlfriend. But V I soon discovers the real John Thayer's son -- and he's dead.

As V. I. begins to question her mysterious client's motives, she sinks deeper into Chicago's darker side: a world of gangsters, insurance fraud and contract killings. And while she must concentrate on saving the life of someone she has never met, it becomes clear that she is in danger of losing her own.

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book cover, Deadlock, by Sara Paretsky
Deadlock (1984), Sara Paretsky

Deadlock (1984)

When Vic's cousin Boom Boom dies, she suspects that his fall was murder. Although he is a big hockey player, it is his connection with the family shipping business that gets Vic's attention. This was vaguely the plot for the V.I. Warshawski film (see below).

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book cover, Killing Orders, by Sara Paretsky
Killing Orders (1985), Sara Paretsky

Killing Orders

Once again Vic's family embroil her in murder and mystery, this time it's her hated Aunt Rosa, the treasurer of a priory and some counterfeit securities.

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book cover, Bitter Medicine, by Sara Paretsky
Bitter Medicine (1987), Sara Paretsky

Bitter Medicine (1987)

Despite the law, a pregnant woman is denied treatment at a hospital. Vic uses her skill in an attempt to see that justice is done.

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book cover, Toxic Shock, by Sara Paretsky
Toxic Shock (Blood Shot), Sara Paretsky

Blood Shot

V.I. Warshawski isn't crazy about going back to her old south Chicago neighborhood, but a promise is something she always keeps. Caroline, a childhood friend, has a dying mother and a problem -- after twenty-five years she wants V.I. to find the father she never knew. But when V.I. starts probing into the past, she not only finds out where all the bodies are buried -- she stumbles onto a very new corpse. Now she's stirring up a deadly mix of big business and chemical corruption that may become a toxic shock to a snooper who knows too much. (source:

(winner 1988 Silver Dagger award)Kobo ebooks

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book cover, Burn Marks, Sara Paretsky
Burn Marks (1991), Sara Paretsky

Burn Marks (1991)

Someone knocking on the door at 3 A.M. is never good news. For V.I. Warshawski, the bad news arrives in the form of her wacky, unwelcome aunt Elena. The fire that has just burned down a sleazy SRO hotel has brought Elena to V.I.'s doorstep. Uncovering an arsonist -- and the secrets hidden behind Elena's boozy smile -- will send V.I. into the seedy world of Chicago's homeless... into the Windy City's back room deals and bedroom politics, where new schemers and old cronies team up to get V.I. off the case -- by hook, by crook, or by homicide. (source:

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book cover, Guardian Angel, by Sara Paretsky
Guardian Angel, Sara Paretsky

Guardian Angel

V.I. Warshawski's Chicago neighbourhood is prospering. As it's out with the old and in with the new, long-term residents like elderly Hattie Frizell find themselves viciously under threat . . . But that's not all that's troubling V.I. When the body of her neighbour's friend is found washed up in the Sanitary Canal, her investigations lead her to uncover a world of corporate conspiracy and political corruption involving some of Chicago's most prestigious industrial players. And after several attempts on her life, it seems that this time, V.I. may have dug too deep . . . (source:

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book cover, Tunnel Vision, by Sara Paretsky
Tunnel Vision, Sara Paretsky

Tunnel Vision

With her grand old Loop building set to be razed, she's become a hold-out tenant amid frayed wiring and scary, empty corridors. Then she finds a homeless woman with three kids in the basement, and before she can rescue them, they disappear. Worst of all, she's been implicated in a murder--after the body of Deirdre Messenger, a prominent lawyer's wife, turns up sprawled across her desk.

V.I., who had volunteered with Deirdre at a women's shelter, suspects her death is linked to a case of upper-class domestic abuse so slickly concealed that the police refuse to believe it. Increasingly at odds with the cops, V.I. is blindly plunging ahead after the truth. And her path may lead to corruption at the highest levels.or deep into the abandoned tunnels beneath Chicago's streets, where secrets are hiding in the dark like a child's--or V.I.'s--worst nightmare. (source:

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Book cover, Windy City Blues, Sara Paretsky; 84x140
Windy City Blues, Sara Paretsky

Windy City Blues

A collection of V.I. Warshawski stories.

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book cover, Hard Time, Sara Paretsky
Hard Time, Sara Paretsky

Hard Time

The return of Vic after a five-year writing absence.

Multimedia conglomerate Global Entertainment has purchased the Chicago Herald-Star, forcing the paper's staff to scramble to stay employed. Reporter Murray Ryerson, V.I.'s longtime friend and sometime rival, manages to reinvent himself as the host of a television show on Global's network.

On her way home from a party celebrating Murray's debut, V.I. almost runs over a woman lying in the street. Stopping to help, V.I. soon learns that her Good Samaritan act will drop her squarely in a boiling intrigue. In a case that forces her to go head-to-head with one of the world's largest providers of private security and prison services, a case that exposes dark hidden truths behind the razzle-dazzle of the entertainment industry, V.I. will be ahead of the game if she gets out alive. (Source:

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Book cover, Total Recall, Sara Paretsky; 83x140
Total Recall, Sara Paretsky

Total Recall

For V.I., the journey begins with a national conference in downtown Chicago, where angry protesters are calling for the recovery of Holocaust assets. Replayed on the evening news is the scene of a slight man who has stood up at the conference to tell an astonishing story of a childhood shattered by the Holocaust -- a story that has devastating consequences for V.I.'s cherished friend and mentor, Lotty Herschel.

Lotty was a girl of nine when she emigrated from Austria to England, one of a group of children wrenched from their parents and saved from the Nazi terror just before the war broke out. Now stunningly -- impossibly -- it appears that someone from that long-lost past may have returned. (source:

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Book cover, Black List, Sara Paretsky; 83x140
Black List, Sara Paretsky


By the time this story runs its course, V.I. will have harboured an alleged Arab terrorist, resurrected the ghosts of America's 1950s anti-Communist hysteria, and questioned the integrity of a man she once admired "to the point of hero worship." In other words, it's a typical case for this hard-headed, sarcastic, and perpetually sleep-deprived sleuth. (J. Kingston Pierce review)

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Book cover, Fire Sale, Sara Paretsky; 83x140
Fire Sale, Sara Paretsky

Fire Sale

V I Warshawski may have left her old South Chicago neighborhood, but she learns that she cannot escape it. When V I takes over coaching duties of the girls' basketball team at her former high school, she faces an ill-equipped, ragtag group of gangbangers, fundamentalists, and teenage moms, who inevitably draw the detective into their family woes.

Through young Josie Dorrado, V I meets the girl's mother, who voices her worries about sabotage in the little flag manufacturing plant where she works. The biggest employer on the South Side, discount-store behemoth By-Smart, pays even less, and Ms. Dorrado doesn't know how she'll support her four children if the flag plant shuts down.

The elder Dorrado's fears are realized when the plant explodes; V I is injured and the owner is killed. As V I begins to investigate, she finds herself confronting the Bysen family, who own the By-Smart company. Founder William "Buffalo Bill" Bysen, now in his eighties, has four sons who quarrel with each other and with him; the oldest, "Young Mr. William," is close to sixty and furious that his father doesn't cede more power to him. And then, there's "Billy the Kid," Young Mr. William's nineteen-year-old son, whose Christian idealism puts him on a collision course with his father, his grandfather, and the company as a whole.

When Billy runs away with Josie Dorrado, V I is squeezed between the needs of two very different families. As she tries to find the errant teenagers, and to track down a particularly cruel murderer, her own life is almost forfeit in the swamps that lie under the city of Chicago. (source

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Book cover, Hard Ball, Sara Paretsky; 83x140
Hardball, Sara Paretsky


When V.I. Warshawski is asked to find a man who's been missing for four decades, a search that she thought would be futile turns lethal. Old skeletons from the city's racially charged history rise up to force her back with a vengeance - 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. The elderly sisters who hired her are also keeping important information to themselves.Then V.I. finds that her family is keeping secrets of their own. A young cousin whom she's never met arrives from Kansas City to work on a political campaign, but disappears under mysterious circumstances. Afraid to learn that her adored father might have been a bent cop, deception and corruption following her at every step, V.I. finds all her certainties under threat, but takes the investigation all the way to its frightening end. (source:

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Book cover, Body Work, Sara Paretsky; 83x140
Body Work, Sara Paretsky

Body Work

The last thing V.I. Warshawski was expecting when she showed up at Chicago's Club Gouge was that she'd wind up cradling a dying performance artist in an alley. A PTSD-stricken soldier is presumed guilty of the murder, but it's up to V.I. to find out what kinds of shady activities are really happening at Club Gouge... (source:

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Breakdown, Sara Paretsky


Carmilla, Queen of the Night, is a shape-shifting raven whose fictional exploits thrill girls all over the world. When tweens in Chicago's Carmilla Club hold an initiation ritual in an abandoned cemetery, they stumble on an actual corpse, a man stabbed through the heart in a vampire-style slaying. The girls include daughters of some of Chicago's most powerful families: the grandfather of one, Chaim Salanter, is one of the world's wealthiest men; the mother of another, Sophy Durango, is the Illinois Democratic candidate for Senate. For V.I. Warshawski, the questions multiply faster than the answers. Is the killing linked to a hostile media campaign against Sophy Durango? Or to Chaim Salanter's childhood in Nazi-occupied Lithuania? As V.I. struggles for answers, she finds herself fighting enemies who are all too human. (source:

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Book cover, First Cases Vol. 3, Robert J. Randisi (ed.); 86x140
First Cases, Vol 3, Robert J. Randisi (ed.)

First Cases, Vol 3

First Cases of a collection of fictional investigators including Delilah West, Jim Chee, Chip Harrison, Porfiry Rostnikov, Fred Carver, Nick Polo, Saxon, Aaron Gunner, Kate Shugak, Angela Matelli, Tess Monaghan, Lady Vespasia, and of course Stephanie Plum.

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Book cover, Critical Mass, Sara Paretsky; 83x140
Critical Mass, Sara Paretsky

Critical Mass

When private eye V.I. Warshawski is called out to a derelict drug house in a rural town just south of Chicago, she discovers something she wasn't expecting: the mutilated corpse of a man, dumped in a cornfield.

The deceased is the ex-lover of addict Judy Binder; an acquaintance of V.I.'s old friend, Lotty Herschel. Both Judy and her son Martin have disappeared without a trace, and it's up to V.I. to find out why.

The mystery throws V.I. into the fascinating world of physics and invention: a design which sparked the construction of the computer as we know it, the development of nuclear weapons, the wonder of Newton's prisms and a train of dramatic events that occurred in war-time Vienna over seventy years ago.

With a range of suspects too scared to open up, V.I. must delve deep into the past to find clues. Someone holds the answers to her questions - someone who will stop at nothing to prevent the truth from resurfacing . . . (source:

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DVD Cover, V I Warshawski, author Sara Paretsky; 90x159
V. I. Warshawski (1991), Sara Paretsky

V. I. Warshawski (1991)

Critically panned, according to rumour not much liked by Paretsky, this film combines elements of different novels. Avoiding the tendency of V.I. novels to focus on her family members, this V.I. Warshawski has Boom Boom, not a cousin, but a stranger and potential boyfriend. Reasonably good fun, it has the advantage of not trying to glamorise the seedier side of the PI business.

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