Sara Paretsky

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Sara Paretsky

Sara Paretsky (Ames, Iowa, June 8, 1947) is an American feminist writer and author of detective fiction books, especially known for her novels whose protagonist is the detective V.I. Warshawski. Paretsky is credited with the transformation of the role and image of women in the crime novel. She is also the founder of the Sisters of Crime, an organization that promotes women who write mystery stories.

Sara_Paretsky’s Biography

Paretsky was born in Ames, Iowa. His father was a microbiologist and he moved the family to Kansas in 1951 after taking up a job at the University of Kansas, where Paretsky spent his childhood. Being a Jew, the family was limited in the places where they lived because of the segregation laws of the time and the zoning that marked where blacks and Jews could live. They rented an old farm to live. There they moved in 1958 when she was around 11 years old. The relationship with her parents was tense and marked her childhood: her mother was an alcoholic and her father treated her with tyranny. He studied in a rural school. Sara partly assumed the upbringing of two younger brothers. When she told her father that she would like to be a scientist, her father replied that she was too stupid. He told it in his biography published in 2007 Writing in an Age of Silence.

After graduating in political science at the University of Kansas, he worked in the community service in South Chicago in 1966 in the same neighborhood where Martin Luther King worked. There he became involved in the movement that claimed his freedom. Finally he completed a Ph.D. in history at the University of Chicago; his dissertation was titled “The Disruption of Ethics” in New England New before the Civil War. He also did an MBA at the Booth School of Business.

His literary career, he explains in his biography, was born out of the conviction that it should be possible “to create a woman who was a person, not an angel or a monster”.

In 1971 Paretsky was very involved in the feminism of the second wave. Annoyed by how women were portrayed in the crime novel and in a special way as represented by Raymond Chandle and his famous character Philip Marlowe promised to “write a detective novel … that would turn the tables on the dominant views of women in fiction and in society. ” With the publication of Indemnity Only, his first novel that took eight years to write and was published in 1982 detective V.I. Warshawski did so.


The protagonist of her novels, with the exception of two of them, is the private detective in Chicago, V.I. (Victoria Iphigenia) Warshawski. Daughter of a policeman of Polish descent and an Italian emigrant mother who wanted to be an opera singer. He spent his childhood in a depressed neighborhood, South Chicago. He managed to study law at the university thanks to his grades and a sports scholarship. She began her career as a lawyer by trade, but she did not support the department’s rules and they were more interested in politics than in the defense of the accused. After a brief period as an independent lawyer, she decided to pursue research.

Paretsky created the character in response to tough male detectives like Philip Marlowe Raymond Chandler. In 1991 the film V.I. Warshawski (Detective in Silk Stockings) starring Kathleen Turner; the main character was based on the novel Deadlock, although some changes were made.

Paretsky is credited with transforming the role and image of women in crime fiction: The Winter 2007 issue of Clues: A Journal of Detection is dedicated to her work, she is founder of Sisters in Crime, an organization that supports and promotes women who write mystery stories.

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