Release Date: Jun 30, 2020
Imprint: William Morrow
Love and Other Crimes contains a collection of short stories written by Sara Paretsky. The stories feature characters who are willing to kill for love. Most of the stories have appeared in other collections, but almost all of them were new to me. Each includes an author’s note giving the background of the story and if any changes were made to existing stories especially for this collection. Paretsky is best known for her V.I. Warshawki series and most of these stories have V.I. as the main character. I have read most of the full-length novels in the series, but also appreciate the clever writing showcased in these short stories. This book is perfect for readers unfamiliar with Sara Paretsky’s work, but returning fans will enjoy it as well.
The stories cover a variety of topics with Chicago being the setting for most of them. As with any multi-story collection, I like some of the stories more than others. One of my favorites is the title story, which is a brand-new story. V.I. helps an old acquaintance who claims her brother is being framed for murder. This story has V.I. investigating in the present, but gives a glimpse into her past as well. One of the V.I. stories that was previously published is set completely in the past and shows V.I. and her cousin Boom-Boom as children. Since I like her novels, I expected to like the short stories, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed some of the stories featuring main characters other than V.I. One of those was a double surprise because it was a Sherlock Holmes story. I don’t always like when other authors tackle this iconic character, but Paretsky’s take paid tribute to this classic detective while still giving it her own spin.
There are a couple stories I don’t care for, including a dystopian tale featuring Dr. Lottie Herschel which is making a political statement but is very depressing. However, there are plenty others I do like. The book ends on a high note with an interesting “non-V.I.” story which gives an amusing take on the changing world of publishing. Readers who enjoy short stories in the mystery genre, especially fans of Sara Paretsky, will like this well-rounded collection of stories.