Contribution

(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Sara Paretsky is notable in the mystery and detective genre for her ability to shift the conventions of the hard-boiled private investigator tradition to a female character. Her V. I. Warshawski is a tough-minded, able woman whose gender does not hamper her in the line of duty. Paretsky takes many opportunities to play against the expectations of the genre and to point out the competence of women in roles traditionally held by men. Paretsky imbues Warshawski with wit, cynicism, and a feminist perspective that allows her to deliver sardonic observations about her interactions and adventures. One of the most sharply drawn of the first wave of female private investigators, Paretsky’s protagonist has also paved the way for subsequent, equally distinctive, generations of the breed. Warshawski is one of the most sharply drawn of the steadily growing tribe of female private investigators. In 1992 Paretsky received an Anthony Award for A Woman’s Eye (1991), a collection she edited. The Crime Writers’ Association awarded Paretsky a Silver Dagger for Blood Shot (1988; published in England as Toxic Shock), a Gold Dagger for Blacklist (2003), and a Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for lifetime achievement in 2002.