V. I. Warshawski explores secrets and betrayals that stretch across four generations in this New York Times bestselling novel from one of the most compelling writers in American crime fiction...
“A thoughtful, high-tension mystery.”—The Washington Post Book World
“A genuinely exciting and disturbing thriller.”—Chicago Tribune
As a favor to her most important client, V. I. agrees to check up on an empty mansion. But instead of a mysterious intruder she discovers a dead man in the ornamental pond—a reporter for an African-American publication whom the suburban cops are quick to dismiss as a suicide.
When the man’s shattered family hires V. I. to investigate, she is sucked into a Gothic tale of sex, money, and power, leading her back to McCarthy-era blacklists and forward to some of the darker aspects of the Patriot Act. As V. I. finds herself penned in to a smaller and smaller space by an array of people trying to silence her, and before she can untangled the sordid truth, two more people will die—and V.I.’s own life will hang in the balance.
Chicago private eye V.I. ("Vic") Warshawski needs all her strength and ingenuity to deal with the tragic effects of discrimination past and present in this riveting exploration of guilt and fear, the 12th installment in Paretsky's stellar series. Longtime client Darraugh Graham asks Vic to investigate his mother Geraldine's suspicion that trespassers are living in the empty mansion her father built in the suburban Chicago enclave where she has spent most of her life. Vic literally tumbles into trouble when, upon falling into a pond on the property, she comes up clutching the hand of a dead man. He is identified as Marcus Whitby, a young African-American journalist who was writing about members of the 1930s Federal Negro Theater Project especially a beautiful Negro dancer once championed by local liberals and blacklisted during the Communist witch hunt. Hired by Marcus's sister to look into his death, Vic spans cultures and generations in her investigation. Is Benji, the young Arab student sheltered in the mansion's attic by 16-year-old Catherine Bayard (whose politically daring publisher grandfather Calvin was once Vic's hero), somehow connected? Whether or not he has terrorist ties, Benji is at risk, so after Vic finds him she persuades Father Lou, a tough but caring community activist, to hide him in spite of post-9/11 dictums. Digging deeper, Vic must face disturbing allegations about Calvin Bayard and the likelihood that her lover, Morrell, on assignment in Afghanistan, is in danger. Paretsky reminds us that although victims change, prejudice is still alive and all too well. With this top-notch offering, she earns another vote of confidence for V.I. 175,000 first printing; author tour.