cover image Windy City Blues

Windy City Blues

Sara Paretsky. Delacorte Press, $19.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-385-31502-9

Before giving us nine tales featuring her indomitable detective, V.I. Warshawski, Paretsky provides an introduction in which she gives a tour of the industrial south side of Chicago. The piece unwittingly reveals why her novels work so well and why this short-story collection doesn't. Many readers eagerly follow V.I. across the industrial and socioeconomic terrain that Paretsky carefully details and so seamlessly integrates into her novels. But there's no room in these short tales for such marvelously extended Chicago set pieces. Instead, Paretsky has to get by largely on plotting. A Warshawski relative arrives from Italy in ""Grace Notes"" to find a valuable musical manuscript that once belonged to V.I.'s mother. The Warshawski family tree's tangled roots have tripped the detective up before, and they do so again here. In ""Strung Out,"" a young female tennis star has the usual entourage of pushy parents and lovers and coaches. Suddenly, she's short one pushy parent, and V.I. is on hand to lead us to the killer in this loveless match. On the whole these stories seem slight beside the broader canvases of Warshawski novels like Blood Shot and Guardian Angel. (Oct.)