Top positive review
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The same headstrong, wilful -- beautiful V.I.
on 26 October 2001
There isn't a private investigator in the whole of contemporary fiction as strong or as angry as V.I.Warshawski. From her brilliant entry into crimewriting with "Indemnity Only", Sara Paretsky's interest in corrupt dealings with finance & insurance, makes her an expert in the fascinating study of following money trails through account books. "Total Recall" reveals the background to Dr Lotty Herschell's escape from Europe, while V.I. investigates a man using a name Lottie remembers from her past, but she refuses to identify it. He insists he is related to her friend Max, but refuses to reveal his real name. V.I.'s exasperation with clues that lead nowhere, a local blue-collar family cheated of death insurance, apparently connected to banks in Switzerland, where protesters in Chicago are calling for recovery of holocaust assets. The plot is exacerbated by a recovered-memory therapist who insists the imposter is who he claims. Lotty crumbles slowly under the pressure of her past, while V.I. drives around Chicago piecing together a mosaic of information from deaths & lies & misplaced corporate loyalty. As always, Warshawski is driven forward mostly by impatience but also her sense of honour & determination to keep her word, solve the mysteries & put everything right. There is nobody anywhere as exciting or as ethically bolshie as V.I. There isn't a shred sanctimony in Paretsky's books, but each is written with witty humour & a strong social conscience.