Aging detective: Body Work by Sara Paretsky

Have you ever wondered why the heroes in detective stories never seem to get any older? You might know perfectly well that the author is, say, 87 and going strong, but his alter ego hasn’t aged a day since he first saw the light of day in print half a century ago.

Not so, V. I. Warshawski. In years past, V.I., or Vic to her friends, was a rough and ready 30, diving into danger with fists extended. She’s now a more cautious and slightly slower 50. Truth to tell, Ms. Paretsky is, well, let’s just say, at least ten years older, but to her credit she’s let her alter ego age. For this she deserves some sort of prize. The aging detective is in no way less able than she was decades earlier.

Body Work (V. I. Warshawski #14) by Sara Paretsky ★★★★☆

At whatever age, Vic finds herself caught up in complex and intertwined stories that always manage to burrow down into the depths of Chicago’s corruption. Not the old-fashioned kind, usually — payoffs for sewer contracts and jobs for the precinct captain’s nephews and such — but real, honest-to-goodness corruption of the mature, contemporary, corporate variety.

So it goes in Body Work, Paretsky’s 14th chapter in the life and times of aging detective V. I. Warshawski. This time around, Vic finds herself cradling a dying woman in her arms and becomes embroiled in an effort to establish the innocence of the Iraq War vet the police have arrested for her murder. Body Work features all the puzzling twists and turns you might expect from Sara Paretsky, all the tension and suspense, and all the colorful characters that accompany Vic from one novel to the next: her current lover, her wacky young cousin, her aging neighbor and would-be protector, the always exasperated and less than brilliant Chicago police officers, and, of course, her dogs, Peppy and Mitch. (Waitaminnit! I wonder how old those dogs are now?)

For additional reading

You might also enjoy my posts:

For an abundance of great mystery stories, go to Top 20 suspenseful detective novels. And if you’re looking for exciting historical novels, check out Top 10 historical mysteries and thrillers reviewed here.

And you can always find my most popular reviews, and the most recent ones, plus a guide to this whole site, on the Home Page.