Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple is a mild-mannered, genteel lady who ferrets out crime by using her considerable wits. Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski is nothing like that. Mild manners? Nope. As a matter of fact, Warshawski has a gritty personality that grinds on just about everyone she meets. Genteel? Uh, that would be a no. And while Warshawski certainly has brains, she’s not above throwing a few good punches when the situation warrants.
Paretsky, who is in Houston to discuss and sign copies of her new book, Breakdown, created Warshawski in response to namby-pamby women in detective fiction, like Miss Marple, the eternal virgin. “I don’t know anyone like that,” says Paretsky. “I’m not sure I would have ever started writing for publication if I hadn’t had this need to create a woman character who could be a real person, a problem solver. I wanted to create someone who, like me and my friends, had sexual ups and downs but who still had a life beyond that.” Enter Warshawski, a rough-and-tumble character Paretsky fashioned to be not only realistic, but inspiring. “I wish I was as much of a risk-taker as she is and as carefree as she is.”
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
In Breakdown, Warshawski is faced with the ultimate opponent — a gaggle of tween girls. She finds them in an abandoned cemetery in the middle of the night performing an initiation ritual so they can become followers of a shape-shifting raven named Carmilla. The fact that Carmilla is a fictional character doesn’t deter the girls from wanting to be followers. Warshawski has come to fetch them home, but that plan changes when she finds a dead man with a stake driven through his heart just a few feet away from the girls. 6:30 p.m. Murder by the Book, 2342 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-524-8597 or visit www.murderbooks.com. Free.
Thu., Jan. 5, 2012