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December 2007

What’s New · Meet Sara Paretsky

Sara Paretsky
Sara Paretsky

For over 20 years, Sara Paretsky has delighted millions of readers around the world with her mystery series featuring the tough-as-nails Chicago private detective, V.I. Warshawski.

The Library is delighted to offer Paretsky’s fans the opportunity to attend a program hosted by the best-selling writer on Thursday, January 17 at 7:00 p.m. The program will take place at Memorial Hall (1225 Elm Street) and will be followed by a book signing. Copies of her books, including her latest—Bleeding Kansas—will be available for sale at Memorial Hall.

Tickets are $8.50, if purchased at the Aronoff Center for the Arts, or $10.00 if purchased by phone (513-621-2787) or online.

Library Foundation Benefit

Receive a signed copy of Paretsky’s latest book, Bleeding Kansas, an invitation to a meet and greet reception with the author, and a ticket for VIP seating at the event. The reception begins at 5:30. Tickets are $50.00 in advance or at the door. Limited numbers are available. For more information or reservations, contact the Cincinnati Arts Association. All proceeds will benefit The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Foundation.

About Sara Paretsky’s Work and Background

Sara Paretsky revolutionized the mystery world when she introduced her private detective, V.I. Warshawski, in her 1982 novel, Indemnity Only. By creating a strong female investigator who uses her wits as well as her fists, Paretsky challenged the conventions of a genre in which women traditionally were either vamps or victims. Eleven other Warshawski novels followed, all national bestsellers, including her most recent, Fire Sale. In an article about Paretsky’s work for NoveList, Joyce Saricks writes, “While interesting characters fill Paretsky’s books and certainly many readers follow the series because they appreciate her skill at portraying this cast of recurring characters, these mysteries are also moral tales of battles against social ills. Each book provides a platform for social commentary and an occasion for the intrepid V. I. to right another wrong. Crimes are white collar—tales of corporate corruption and political graft in the insurance and scavenger trades, as well as the medical profession and the Catholic church. Even her non-series novel, Ghost Country, includes passionate social commentary. These provocative, layered mysteries usually include multiple plot lines and complex twists, in the course of the resourceful V. I.’s quests.

Paretsky grew up in eastern Kansas. While at the University of Kansas, she went to Chicago to perform community service under the direction of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and, according to her website, that summer changed her life forever. After completing her degree at the University of Kansas in 1967, she moved to Chicago permanently and received both a doctorate in history and an MBA from the University of Chicago. Paretsky was one of the founders of Sisters in Crime, an organization that supports women writers and serves on the advisory boards of of Literature for All of Us and Thresholds, which serves mentally-ill homeless people in Chicago.

A couple of weeks ago, Paretsky spent some time talking to WVXU’s Katie Orr about her new novel, Bleeding Kansas. You can listen to the interview here.


Paretsky blazed a trail for other writers interested in creating agressive, tough female detectives. Here are some other series you might be interested in reading: