Sara Paretsky is known for her influential V.I. Warshawski series, which transformed the masculine hard-boiled detective formula into a vehicle for feminist values.
But Paretsky does more than this. Her novels also illustrate the extent to which detective fiction acts as a literature of trauma, allowing Paretsky to address the politics of agency in ways that go beyond the personal, for trauma always has a social and a political dimension.
Paretsky's work also exploits the way detective fiction mirrors the writing of history.
Here, Paretsky uses the form to expose the partiality of historical accounts - whether they be personal, institutional, or national - that authorise 'forgetting' of a particularly insidious kind.
Significantly, all these issues are explored within the framework of the traditional hard-boiled detective novel.
As a result, Paretsky's achievement forces us to acknowledge the deeply subversive potential of detective fiction. -- .