fire Title: Fire Sale
Author: Sara Paretsky
Detective VI Warshawski is snooping about a factory in the dead of night
on a hunch (well that’s her job) when the whole place goes bang.
She is rendered hospitalised with a lump of building in her shoulder, and
the owner of the place is very thoroughly killed. You guessed it, this
was no accident that the place exploded. No one left the iron on or failed
to turn off the oven toaster or even recklessly shook up a can of pop.
Nor is it the first time detective Warshawski has been in a scrape. She
and author Sara Paretsky have been through oodles of adventures together,
and Warshawski’s personality ensures that challenge and explosions
are never too far away. She is the kind of private detective who will pick
locks, sneak into places she shouldn’t and bend the rules plenty
enough to conform to the demands of offbeat detective fiction. Warshawski
is a compelling character in the crime thriller genre because she is more
unpredictable and, well, naughty, than, say, the heroines of Patricia Cornwell’s
work. She is a tough-bitten, hard-working woman who always gets her man — if
you see what I mean.
Another thing I like about Paretsky is that the villain often represents
a lumpen corporate entity. Warshawski is one of fiction’s defenders
of the individual against callous power.
In Fire Sale, Warshawski is helping out the disadvantaged of her native
Chicago when their wellbeing is threatened by aforementioned factory explosion
which will put people she knows out of work. More than that, she is dragged
into a feud of a rich family that owns a certain combustible factory already
known to the reader.