Author Sara Paretsky is best known for creating the feisty female detective VI Warshawski. But in her latest book, she finds the strength to tackle her troubled childhood in rural Kansas
The painful reality of that unhappy family might surprise Paretsky's millions of fans. In the 1980s, she practically invented the genre of the female detective: her heroine, VI Warshawski, was a feisty private eye much given to designer clothes.
Twelve crime novels later, Paretsky is a worldwide bestseller. But now she has changed
direction, revisiting the geography of her troubled childhood for the first
time in Bleeding Kansas.
For fans of the orphaned, and rather solitary, Warshawksi, who usually hunts killers against the
gritty backdrop of Chicago, Bleeding Kansas might seem alien territory, full
of farm families working in sorghum fields, milking sheds and attending church.
return home on a journey of the imagination.
"Not everything about living in Kansas was difficult, but it was a difficult part of my life.
Chicago is where I came of age and became a person, made a reputation for
myself, and I didn't really want to go back to that," she says.
admits, with some sadness, that she has given up on the high heels she loved
because of age and a bad car accident last year. She is wearing sensible
is published by Hodder & Stoughton at £16.99. NZ$35.00