Indemnity Only

In this gripping adventure, the first V.I. Warshawski mystery, America’s top private eye is tossed into dangerous adventure when a seemingly straightforward assignment becomes complicated and deadly.

Hired by a man who calls himself John Thayer, V I’s assignment is to find Thayer’s son Peter’s missing girlfriend. But when V.I. finds young Peter’s dead body instead, her client disappears. Her efforts to track down her client and learn his true identity take her deep into a labyrinth of fraud and violence.

By the time V.I. figures out the answers she is in a race to find the missing young woman—before the murderers do.

Reviews and Quotes
Exciting, intelligent and truly involving in terms of making you want to find out everything there is to know about the characters you are meeting, Indemnity Only looks like the start of a very winning new mystery series. At its heart is V.I. Warshawski (a little later on we will get to know her as “Vic”), a Chicago private detective. She has been a lawyer; she has a marvelous group of friends, from a woman doctor who specializes in helping near-desperate street people to a somewhat uncertain insurance executive who thinks he may be falling in love with V.I. to a lonely teenage girl who is at the heart of a terrible labor-racketeering-insurance scam and the deaths that are to ensue from it. It is the plotting that is so convincing here, that and the characterizations. If only Indemnity Only had been published in 1981 it would have been a leading contender for 1982 MWA first mystery novel honors. As it is, Paretsky and Warshawski may have to wait another year. — Publishers Weekly

Not since crime-fiction masters Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammet has a mystery writer integrated a character and an environment so seamlessly, to such telling, vibrant effect. — Chicago magazine

Paretsky is a smooth writer and a funny woman, good at evoking seedy urban environments and taking wry potshots at middle-class aspirations…[She] has created a scrappy, entertaining, idiosyncratic fictional character who is a woman, so hooray for her! — San Jose Mercury-News