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Valor Seguro (V.I. Warshawski #1)

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  11,104 Ratings  ·  318 Reviews
Another V.I. Warshawski novel. Meeting an anonymous client late on a sizzling summer night is asking for trouble. But trouble is Chicago private eye V.I. Warshawski's specialty. Her client says he is the prominent banker, John Thayer. Turns out he is not. He says his son's girlfriend, Anita Hill, is missing. Turns out that is not her real name. V.I.'s search turns up someo ...more
Hardcover, 317 pages
Published August 1st 2001 by Alfaguara (first published 1982)
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James Thane
Jan 19, 2016 James Thane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
This is the novel that introduced Chicago private investigator V. I. Warshawski back in 1982. At that time, the book was something of a revelation. Female P.I.s were few and far between, especially hard-nosed, take-no-prisoners types. There were, of course, plenty of Miss Marples and the like, solving mostly gentile puzzle mysteries, sometimes with the assistance of their cats. But hardly any women P.I.s were out there kicking ass and taking names.

Then, in 1982, readers were introduced to both S
Many years ago I dipped into a Sara Paretsky book. I don't even remember which one it was but I did not finish it because I disliked the main character so much. Well I decided to have another try and this time I started with the first in the series. This particular book is quite old now and it has a lot of charm just because of its style and its setting. No mobile phones or laptops assist this private detective in her work. And I found I did not dislike her so much anymore, in fact she is a rath ...more
Jul 28, 2012 Rob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Oddly, even though I've read many of the V.I. Warshawski novels, I'd yet to read the first one until; now.

I have certain expectations of one of Vic Warshawski's exploits: well-written; tightly plotted; intricately bound up with Chicago culturally, politically. and topographically; gritty, and, of course, depressing as all get-out.

That Vic is always always under the hammer isn’t surprising; most detectives are. That she faces tall odds is also expected. However, she's the only detective I’ve read
Dec 18, 2013 Renee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Totally within the (small, exclusive) pantheon of Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone and Marcia Muller's Sharon McCone. Can a pantheon be small and exclusive? Sure it can. I just said so.

Chicago, big unions, big banks along-side small inner city clinics and a public defender turn PI. And V.I. Warshawski drives a Monza... that's a Chevy that they don't make anymore for good reason. It's what my father bought used for my oldest sister with the plan that all five of his daughters would drive it in their
A steady debut novel in which we meet V.I. Warshawski, a female P.I., who sets out to handle her first case dealing with rich people and (you guessed it) . . . treachery!

The clue trails are solid, the characters are well developed and the pacing is a tad slow at times.

That said, this novel was written in the 80s when pacing wasn't as big as it is now.

At a recent book signing hosted by the delightful mystery book store Murder by the Book, I mentioned to the clerk that I thought Sue Grafton’s twice-divorced, no make-up-wearing, junk food-loving sleuth Kinsey Millhone had influenced my becoming a feminist. In response, he recommended that I read Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski novels, saying that if Grafton was “there” on the spectrum of feminist writers then Paretsky was way over “here.”

I’m not sure by what scale he was measuring because I did
aPriL does feral sometimes
V. I. Warshawski is a Chicago private investigator, and this is the first in her series. I can't quite put my finger on it, but she is strikingly masculine, the most male-like of the women P.I.s I enjoy reading about. She is also the most alone, no living mother or father or siblings. She started out being a lawyer, but switched careers after helping a friend with a problem that required detective work.

Vic (don't call her Vickie!) has a late night visitor, who hires her to find a girl. But every
Jane Stewart
3 stars. Typical PI mystery series told in first person. Slightly above average.

VI is a female private investigator. She is often short on money to pay her bills. A few times I thought I have no idea what I would do if I were the investigator. Then VI did something, and I was impressed. She is tough physically. For example, a bad guy has a gun, she jumps him, breaks his arm, rolls to the floor, and grabs the gun. The result is some good investigating ideas and some pretty good action scenes.

Kathleen Dixon
This is the first of “three complete novel” in one volume that Rupert lent to me some several months ago. I wanted a bit of light reading so I took it off the wait-shelf. V.I. Warshawski (Victoria Iphigenia, which is why she avoids telling anybody her middle name! – and she always introduces herself as V.I. because otherwise the men take the liberty of calling her by her first name and talking down to her) is a private detective in Chicago in the 1980s. She’s got a real smart mouth, which makes ...more
Geoffrey Feller
May 07, 2013 Geoffrey Feller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those series of mystery books I'd heard about for ages but never read until now. So I started with the first novel in the series, "Indemnity Only". I had seen the one movie based on the V. I. Warshawski character back when it was released more than 20 years ago. I barely remember anything about that film except that I hated it and the experience probably had something to do with no longer being a Kathleen Turner fan after the 80s. As for the real Vic Warshawski, Sara Paretsky's cr ...more
Gary Sedivy
Mar 03, 2011 Gary Sedivy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Female detective: nothing wrong with that. Tough, okay. Set in Chicago, which is
kind of intriguing since our son had lived there for a few years. It is kind of fun to visualize parts of the city as described in the book. Of course the story has Chicago mobsters and union thugs (sometimes one and the same). Pretty good pacing of the plot, and enough hints to be able to make a few guesses whodunit. May read at least one more in the series.
Mar 04, 2016 Alexa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fab-16
I slogged through most of this without much enjoyment at all, but it did manage to pull out an interesting ending. The vast majority of it, both plot and characters, just had no ring of truth.
Dec 16, 2012 Olga rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
2012 marks the 30 year anniversary of the first publication of Sara Paretsky's debut novel and after listening to the BBC World Book Club program where she was the guest I decided to pick it up.
You can definitely see that Indemnity Only is a debut novel. There is the minute detail often present in authors' first works, from what exactly their characters wore to what they ate. There are inconsistencies in quantities of family heirlooms and thorough accounts of habits and routines. Things like th
Oct 23, 2014 Mark rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't understand why this had to suck so much. The first in her apparently very successful series of V.I. Warshawski stories, this freshman outing—pre-sophomoric; don't freshmen write too?—is good enough in terms of plot that I read it through. But the writing (style, characters, dialogue, etc.) is so freshman-like that I found myself longing for a cliché or two—not the comic-book kind you expect from immature writing but the imaginative and often ingenious kind you find in a Raymond Chandler ...more
Jun 28, 2010 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book again over twenty years later has been a revelation. At the time of the first reading it was a contemporary crime novel (published in the UK in 1982) unusual mostly for the fact that the detective was a woman. Reading it now the protagonist's gender seems unremarkable but the striking thing is that it feels much closer to Chandler in literary style than anything written in the last ten years, and VI, the hero, is closest as a character to Marlowe, linked not least by the wisecr ...more
Jul 27, 2015 Christy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
V.I Warshwski is a great character. She's a tough as nails feminist, who manages to navigate the tough Chicago underworld believably. In the hands of a lesser writer she may be "sassy" or fall into the trap of many female detectives, being rescued by a man. The male characters aren't stupid or easily dismissed, which only highlights Vic's strengths and general badassededness. Well written, and weirdly engaging for a book about fraudulent insurance claims. I'll definitely read more in the series.
I have read many other Paretsky books because I just love the Chicago connection. I had never before read this, the first book in the V.I.Warchoski series.
I liked it, and it did fill in some background that leads to the other books in the series.
Without trying to spoil anyone's interest, I do find the books 'predictable', but, still, I read them because of the totally accurate descriptions of the Chicago neighborhoods.
Sep 19, 2014 Hapzydeco rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good introduction to V.I. Warshawski, Private Investigator. Novel brings a feminist perspective to the hard-boiled Private Eye genre.
Oct 07, 2015 Milica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I stumbled upon this book while I was reading a million reviews of Thomas Pynchon's Bleeding Edge. The only negative review was the one that referenced V.I. Warshawski saying she would readily slap some sense into Maxine Tarnow. I was irritated then that I'd never heard of her before, but now I'm kind of livid.
This book is sooo delicious and I can't stop saying it. It honestly felt like eating the most delicious tortilla wrap - you know, the ones with spicy chicken, red peppers, corn, thinly cut
James Love
Before Buffy Summers, Sunny Randall, Stephanie Plum or Veronica Mars their was a smart and sassy female investigator named V. I. (Victoria Iphigenia) Warshawski.

A father finds his daughter's dead boyfriend's body and hires "Vic" to find his runaway daughter. Then the boyfriend's dad, a banker, is killed. Unions, Banks and Insurance Fraud leads to a double homicide in this mystery thriller.

Favorite Quotes:

The headquarters of the International Brotherhood of Knifegrinders, Shear Edgers, and Blade
I’ve never been to Chicago, but I love Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden novels, so my husband suggested I try something a little more “normal.” Sara Paretsky’s city is just as convincing and intriguing, without the myth and magic. Her first person narrator has the same toughness as Dresden, the same folly in love, and the same downbeat sense of failure. But she's also strong, vibrant and determined, so I enjoyed following her. In this novel, violence causes real injury, crime bosses are a good blend ...more
I read the 30th anniversary edition of the first V.I. Warshawski book, which included an intro by the author that gave me an even deeper appreciation for this character and the series (not to mention the author herself!). At the time it was originally published, the main character, Chicago-based female private investigator V.I. Warshawski, was ground-breaking, and it showed that a female protagonist could be strong, smart, and take the readers on one heck of a thrill ride in a job not typically ...more
Aug 05, 2012 Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was good to see the early V.I. in her introductory book. I have enjoyed later books and always meant to go back and catch up with the back list. Recalling the times of 1979-1982 from Vic's perspective then, and from my perspective now some thirty years later, stirred up a lot of memories, not all good, not all bad. The times then were different, and progress has improved some things, while some remain the same.
V.I. starts out with the kind of case she always seems to pick up, one that turns
Nov 05, 2012 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Paretsky's writing style is just really comfortable. You slip into the narrative instead of falling and it all just seems like you are catching up with an old friend...except you've never met this character before, probably. One of the best first books for a series that I've read.

Vic is a perfect mix of rough and feminine. She does the nicely dressed woman thing and is kind and empathetic, but then turns around and puts up a great fight against some mobster's muscle. She's got way more curiosity
Sep 18, 2013 Christyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series, mystery
This was my first venture into Sara Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski world. It was interesting. I can't say I loved it but I didn't hate it. It wasn't bad, the mystery was interesting and so were the characters. Considering this was written in 1982 (or at least published then) it's a bit dated (in terms of some of the lingo, terminology, etc. i.e. Broad and Kelly Girl - I mean I could guess what a Kelly Girl was but I looked it up just to be sure). I probably would've liked this more if I liked V.I. m ...more
Venkatraman Ramachandran
Nice and simple presentation of an investigative effort from a female private detective. Passion towards her profession, hunger to find the truth and elements of humanitarian thinking make the character likeable. Couple of other powerful nicely presented personalities do their bit to pep up the tale. A diminutive and simple detective story that keeps the reader just about interested during the course of reading the novel. Indemnity only demands minimum indemnity as far as reader is concerned.
Kelly Hager
I did a pretty epic re-read of VI Warshawski a few years ago, and I hope to do so again the next time I feel discouraged about life in general. I love VI and her politics have definitely shaped mine.

The thing with VI is that she always fights for the underdog and has for her entire career. (Which starts with this book.) Certain aspects of her personality have changed, but never that.
Feb 14, 2015 Lesley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
3.5 Stars

I was looking for a mystery novel with a female lead, and the V.I. Warshawski series caught my eye. It’s a decent mystery - not shocking, but intriguing enough to keep me hooked - and the main character is pretty badass. She takes a beating, but she doesn’t give up, holding her ground against some very intimidating characters. Her investigative strategy is essentially to piss off all parties and see what shakes loose - stupid, yet amusing. Overall, Indemnity Only is a page-turner that s
I find Sara Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski Series very readable. The first Indemnity Only makes it clear that this is an homage to Film Noir and hardboiled detectives with V.I. Warshawski meeting her client in a darkened office (the fuses have blown)Lite only by the neon of a nearby bar.[return][return]In her subesquent adventures V I is beaten up. shoot at and refuses to given in with a tenacity Marlow would admire. I like the slow march of technology through the series in the first book she has a ...more
Jennifer  (Books That Hook)
Indemnity Only was a really good story although I felt like I had gone back to my childhood–the material culture dates the book. It was published in 1991. Without knowing that, I would have guessed it was set in the 1980s.

The main character, V.I. (Vic) Warshawski is very likable. The book is well-paced. I was kept guessing by the mystery.

I took off a star because I couldn’t really relate to anything besides Vic’s personality, not just because of the time period but because of the subject matter.
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Sara Paretsky is a modern American author of detective fiction. Paretsky was raised in Kansas, and graduated from the state university with a degree in political science. She did community service work on the south side of Chicago in 1966 and returned in 1968 to work there. She ultimately completed a Ph.D. in history at the University of Chicago, entitled The Breakdown of Moral Philosophy in New E ...more
More about Sara Paretsky...

Other Books in the Series

V.I. Warshawski (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • Deadlock (V.I. Warshawski, #2)
  • Killing Orders (V.I. Warshawski, #3)
  • Bitter Medicine (V.I. Warshawski, #4)
  • Blood Shot (V.I. Warshawski, #5)
  • Burn Marks (V.I. Warshawski, #6)
  • Guardian Angel (V.I. Warshawski, #7)
  • Tunnel Vision (V.I. Warshawski, #8)
  • Hard Time (V.I. Warshawski, #9)
  • Total Recall (V.I. Warshawski, #10)
  • Blacklist (V.I. Warshawski, #11)

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