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Sara Paretsky

Author of Indemnity Only

88+ Works 21,954 Members 621 Reviews 55 Favorited

About the Author

Author Sara Paretsky was born in Ames, Iowa on June 8, 1947. She received a degree in political science from the University of Kansas and ultimately completed a Ph.D. in history at the University of Chicago; her dissertation was entitled "The Breakdown of Moral Philosophy in New England Before the show more Civil War." She also earned an MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. She married a professor of physics (University of Chicago). The protagonist of all but two of Paretsky's novels is V.I. Warshawski, a female private investigator. V. I. Warshawsky shows a female detective succeeding a traditionally male role. Paretsky has won numerous awards for her work including the Silver Dagger Award for Toxic Shock, the Gold Dagger award for Blacklist, and the Diamond Dagger for Lifetime achievement from the British Crime Writers Association. Her title Brush Back made the New York Times Best Seller List in 2015. (Bowker Author Biography) show less


Works by Sara Paretsky

Indemnity Only (1983) 1,519 copies
Blacklist (2003) 1,372 copies
Tunnel Vision (1994) 1,267 copies
Fire Sale (2005) 1,251 copies
Blood Shot (1988) 1,197 copies
Guardian Angel (1992) 1,187 copies
Hard Time (1999) 1,186 copies
Bitter Medicine (1987) 1,127 copies
Burn Marks (1990) 1,124 copies
Killing Orders (1985) 1,123 copies
Deadlock (1984) 1,103 copies
Total Recall (2001) 1,071 copies
Hardball (2009) 864 copies
Windy City Blues (1991) 798 copies
Body Work (2010) 764 copies
Bleeding Kansas (2008) 658 copies
Breakdown (2012) 575 copies
Critical Mass (2013) 481 copies
Fallout (2017) 417 copies
Ghost Country (1998) 377 copies
Shell Game (2018) 356 copies
Brush Back (2015) 355 copies
A Woman's Eye (1991) — Editor; Introduction — 275 copies
Dead Land (2020) 264 copies
Women on the Case (1996) — Editor — 212 copies
Overboard (2022) 183 copies
Writing in an Age of Silence (2007) 168 copies
A Taste of Life (1995) 120 copies
Love & Other Crimes (2020) 72 copies
Pay Dirt (2024) 56 copies
The Best Mystery Stories of the Year: 2022 (2022) — Editor — 41 copies
Crime Story Collection (2000) 28 copies
Beastly Tales (1989) — Editor — 25 copies
Death on the Edge (2018) 20 copies
Female Sleuths (1993) 13 copies
Strung Out (1997) 12 copies
Photo Finish (2011) 9 copies
Sharon Gless Reads Crime's Leading Ladies {audiobook} (1995) — Contributor — 6 copies
Grace Notes (1995) 4 copies
Skin Deep {story} (1994) 3 copies
Five Short Stories (1995) 3 copies
Silver Lies 1 copy
Verdwenen 1 copy
Schiebung (Ariadne) (2022) 1 copy
Urgence (2002) 1 copy
Der Ferienkrimi. (1999) 1 copy
Zwijgen verzekerd (1985) 1 copy
Settled Score (1998) 1 copy

Associated Works

The Secret of the Old Clock (1930) — Introduction, some editions — 7,101 copies
The Best American Mystery Stories of the Century (2000) — Contributor — 457 copies
The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries (2013) — Contributor — 298 copies
A Moment on the Edge: 100 Years of Crime Stories by Women (2000) — Contributor — 267 copies
In the Company of Sherlock Holmes (2011) — Contributor — 227 copies
Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel (2005) — Foreword, some editions — 209 copies
Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe (1988) — Contributor — 203 copies
A Century of Great Suspense Stories (2001) — Contributor — 154 copies
Women of Mystery (1992) — Contributor — 127 copies
Sisters in Crime (1990) — Contributor — 125 copies
The Folio Book of Christmas Crime Stories (2004) — Contributor — 118 copies
A New Omnibus of Crime (2005) — Contributor — 97 copies
The Best of Sisters in Crime (1997) — Contributor — 95 copies
Murder for Love (1996) — Contributor — 92 copies
Sisters in Crime 5 (1992) — Contributor — 85 copies
Deadly Housewives (2006) — Contributor — 84 copies
The Big Book of Female Detectives (2018) — Contributor — 84 copies
A Century of Noir: Thirty-two Classic Crime Stories (2002) — Contributor — 81 copies
Deadlock [Retold by Rowena Akinyemi] (1995) — Original Author — 79 copies
Sisters in Crime 3 (1990) — Contributor — 79 copies
Lady on the Case: 22 Female Detective Stories (1988) — Contributor — 76 copies
It Occurs to Me That I Am America: New Stories and Art (2018) — Contributor — 75 copies
Stranded (2005) — Foreword, some editions — 72 copies
Ice Cold: Tales of Intrigue from the Cold War (2014) — Contributor — 71 copies
The Oxford Book of Detective Stories (2000) — Contributor — 69 copies
First Cases: First Appearances of Classic Private Eyes (1996) — Contributor — 68 copies
Women on the Edge (1992) — Contributor — 63 copies
A Modern Treasury of Great Detective and Murder Mysteries (1994) — Contributor — 60 copies
1st Culprit: A Crime Writers' Association Annual (1992) — Contributor — 59 copies
Chicago Noir: The Classics (2015) — Contributor — 52 copies
3rd Culprit: An Annual of Crime Stories (1994) — Contributor — 41 copies
Mysterious Pleasures (2003) — Contributor — 34 copies
A Century of Mystery 1980-1989 (1997) — Contributor — 33 copies
Most Wanted (2002) — Contributor — 29 copies
Crime Hits Home (2022) — Contributor — 25 copies
Women of Mystery - Book 3 (1998) 24 copies
Lethal Ladies (1996) — Contributor — 22 copies
New Crimes 1 (1989) — Contributor — 20 copies
The Penguin Book of Crime Stories (2007) — Contributor — 17 copies
Lethal Ladies II (1998) — Contributor — 15 copies
Crime After Crime (1998) — Contributor — 13 copies
The Arvon Book of Crime and Thriller Writing (2012) — Contributor — 10 copies
Homicidal Acts (1988) — Contributor — 9 copies
Crimes of Passion: Twenty-Three Tales of Love and Hate (1993) — Contributor — 8 copies
Murder and Mystery in Chicago (1988) — Contributor — 8 copies
Dangerous Ladies (1992) — Contributor — 8 copies
Fifty Shades of Grey Fedora (2015) — Contributor — 6 copies
Murder to Go (1993) — Contributor — 5 copies
Den kriminelle novelle (1999) — Author, some editions — 5 copies
First Cases [Unabridged Audiobook] (2002) — Contributor — 3 copies


20th century (72) American (123) American literature (95) anthology (522) Chicago (864) children's (127) crime (982) crime fiction (561) detective (463) detective fiction (109) ebook (153) fantasy (74) female detective (100) fiction (2,809) hardcover (112) Illinois (113) murder (85) mysteries (91) mystery (4,467) mystery fiction (83) Nancy Drew (490) novel (168) own (106) paperback (95) PI (99) private detective (206) private eye (73) read (307) Sara Paretsky (80) series (319) short stories (678) suspense (136) thriller (214) to-read (878) unread (102) USA (126) V.I. Warshawski (867) Warshawski (93) writing (133) young adult (117)

Common Knowledge



I have seen a lot of readers posting their praise for author Sara Paretsky’s books and decided to give her a try. She writes a series of books based on a woman private detective, V.I. Warshawki, set in Chicago. Starting another series, especially one with 22 books published, did not bring about a sense of excitement. I decided I would read the first book in the series and if I loved it, I would be happy to pursue the series.

Since I’m the type of person who has to start a series at the beginning, I started my journey with the first installment, Indemnity Only. V.I. Warshawski is hired by John Thayer, a prominent banker, who says his son’s girlfriend, Anita Hill, is missing. V.I. quickly learns that isn’t the girlfriend’s real name. While searching for her, V.I. finds the son, Peter Thayer, dead in his apartment. The mystery thickens when V.I. learns she wasn’t hired by John Thayer in the first place. Before V.I. can find the girlfriend, she must uncover the identity of her client and who murdered young Peter Thayer.

Like any good mystery, this novel kept me busy following the characters and how they connected. And most importantly, why did someone want to kill Peter? The location of the girlfriend remained a constant mystery while V.I. worked diligently to put together the pieces of the puzzle.

I enjoyed Indemnity Only, but I didn’t love it as I hoped. V.I. Warshawski is a tough detective and quite sharp at her detecting skills. She reminded me a lot of Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Milhone character in her alphabet series. I have been reading my way through that series for a few years now and I’m almost finished. It’s hard to describe, but this book didn’t affect me enough to keep reading the series. I’m at a stage in my life where I want to read books that I love. Meaning, I can’t wait to resume reading and it has characters I adore getting to know. A book that gives me all the feels! Sara Paretsky is a good storyteller. Indemnity Only is a good book that I recommend to anyone who is looking for a lengthy series in the mystery genre.

I purchased the audiobook of Indemnity Only through Audible. Narrator Susan Ericksen does a great job conveying the tough character of V.I. Warshawski.

I have photos and additional information that I'm unable to include here. It can all be found on my blog, in the link below.
A Book And A Dog
… (more)
NatalieRiley | 40 other reviews | Jun 8, 2024 |
So far my favorite of the series!
DianeVallere | 22 other reviews | May 16, 2024 |
This is a wonderful addition to the long-running and most-beloved V.I. Warshawski series. This is book 22, and it is as action packed as all the other books in the series. At the beginning we see a very different V.I. She is recovering from an horrific event of the previous fall, and she is unsure of herself, depressed, and not eating and sleeping well. She is in Kansas where she has gone to see a friend of her niece, Bernie, who is playing in an important game and about to break a record in college sports. One of Bernie's friends disappears while they are there, and Bernie asks V.I. to find her. With much reluctance V.I. agrees. She finds the girl unconscious and in a drug house. She manages to get her to safety, but she also discovers the body of an unknown woman in that same house. V.I. tries to find out what happened to the woman, and by doing so she unleashes a rat's nest of corruption and murder in small-town Kansas. Lots is covered in this book--political and corporate corruption, long-held community secrets, and a history of racial prejudice. V.I., at much risk to her health, just has to find out what is behind all this crime, and while doing so, she turns the small town onto its head and digs up some very old secrets that founding families do not want uncovered. It is always an event for me when a new V.I. book comes out and as soon as I hear of one, I place a hold on it so that I can read it right away. I was glad to read that Ms. Paretsky is not done with V.I. yet, and that another book will come out some time in the future. I will be sure to read that immediately as well.… (more)
Romonko | 2 other reviews | Apr 28, 2024 |
It's... fine. The mystery is ell-constructed, the pacing is good. It's just missing some more humor.
cwebb | 16 other reviews | Apr 25, 2024 |



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Associated Authors

Otto Penzler Series Editor
Marilyn Wallace Contributor
Liza Cody Contributor
Marcia Muller Contributor
Susan Dunlap Contributor
Nancy Pickard Contributor
Barbara Wilson Contributor
Amanda Cross Contributor
Carolyn G. Hart Contributor
Carolyn Wheat Contributor
Sue Grafton Contributor
Sandra Burr Narrator, Reader
Jerome Charyn Contributor
Shelley Singer Contributor
Faye Kellerman Contributor
Antonia Frasier Contributor
Margaret Maron Contributor
Julie Smith Contributor
Dorothy B. Hughes Contributor
Mary Wings Contributor
Gillian Slovo Contributor
Ruth Rendell Contributor
Elizabeth George Contributor
Antonia Fraser Contributor
Susan Geason Contributor
Nevada Barr Contributor
Myriam Laurini Contributor
Linda Grant Contributor
Helga Anderle Contributor
Pieke Biermann Contributor
Andrea Smith Contributor
Amel Benaboura Contributor
Lia Matera Contributor
Linda Barnes Contributor
P. M. Carlson Contributor
Frances Fyfield Contributor
Irina Muravyova Contributor
Jean Smart Narrator
Ginny Swart Contributor
Stefon Mears Contributor
Ellen Tremiti Contributor
Annie Reed Contributor
Joseph S. Walker Contributor
Susan Frith Contributor
Sean Marciniak Contributor
Gwen Mullins Contributor
Anna Scotti Contributor
Colin Barrett Contributor
Michael Wiley Contributor
Keith Lee Morris Contributor
Michael Connelly Contributor
Joyce Carol Oates Contributor
Tom Larsen Contributor
Colson Whitehead Contributor
Susan Glaspell Contributor
Jo Nesbø Contributor
Doug Allyn Contributor
Dick Stodghill Contributor
Donald E. Westlake Contributor
Justin Scott Contributor
Clark Howard Contributor
Isaac Asimov Contributor
Hope Raymond Contributor
Joyce Harrington Contributor
James Holding Contributor
Joan Richter Contributor
Sharyn McCrumb Contributor
Antonia Frazer Contributor
Sharon Gless Narrator
Kathy Bates Narrator
Susan Ericksen Narrator, Reader
Osmo Saarinen Translator
Irmeli Ruuska Translator
Sonja Hauser Translator
Staffan Andrae Translator
Mireia Puig Translator
Peter Franke Cover artist
Luud Dorresteijn Translator
Uta Münch Übersetzer
Åsa Hesslefors Translator
Sibylle Schmidt Übersetzer
Mats Hörmark Translator
Ton Koster Translator
Anette Grube Translator
Isak Rogde Overs.
Dietlind Kaiser Translator
Katja Münch Übersetzer
Yngve Rydholm Translator
Nadia May Narrator
Karen Peakes Narrator
Mariska Cock Cover designer
Julia Gorton Cover artist
Peter Wood Photographer
Janet Atkinson Cover artist
Gina Leishman Narrator
Lorri Holt Narrator


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