The Complete List of Sara Paretsky Books in Order

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Only a few writers create something new and exciting that no one tries to, and that becomes the beginning of a fresh perspective and style.

Author Sara Paretsky is among the many who changed the genre of detective fiction by introducing a female detective who solves cases with strength and intelligence.

Besides her famous detective series featuring a female protagonist, she has also written many other books.

I have provided the complete list of Sara Paretsky books in order. If you want to start with her books, check out this article to understand the correct order of reading books written by the author and pick the one that interests you the most.

Who is Sara Paretsky?

Sara Paretsky

Sara Paretsky was born in Ames, Iowa, on June 8, 1947. She is an American author who mostly writes detective fiction. She is also an editor. Sara was brought up in Kansas and studied political science at the University of Kansas.

Later, she completed her MBA and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Sara married to a professor of physics at the Chicago University. Initially, she worked for a large insurance company and switched to full-time writing in 1985.

She is the author of the famous V.I. Warshawski series and is credited with transforming the role of women and breaking down the gender barrier in crime fiction. She is considered one of the best female crime writers among all.

Sara, the New York Times bestselling author, lives in Chicago and continues to write novels for her beloved readers. She also adores Golden Retrievers.

Sara Paretsky’s Books in Order

Sr. NoTitlePublication DatePrint LengthPublisherWhere to Buy
1Indemnity OnlyFebruary 1, 1991256 pagesDelacorte PressAmazon
2Photo FinishOctober 4, 201132 pagesBerkleyAmazon
3Ghost CountryJanuary 1, 1998416 pagesDelacorteAmazon
4Taste of LifeJanuary 17, 201764 pagesPenguin USAAmazon
5Writing In An Age Of SilenceMay 5, 2009138 pagesVersoAmazon

V.I. Warshawski Books Reading and Publication Order

V.I. Warshawski, born on the 27th of July, is a private investigator. She is an active, restless, stubborn, and honest woman. V.I. lost her mother when she was a teen, and the loss still haunts her.

She drinks Johnnie Walker Black Label Whiskey and also loves red wine. V.I. preferred the traditional way of finding information because sitting in front of a computer system is torture for her, which explains her active personality.

V.I. married and separated from her husband after eighteen months. She is a strong female private investigator who solves various cases.

The series has 21 books, and the author will release another in early 2024. All books under the series title can be read as standalones. However, to experience the character growth and references, it’s better to read the books in order.

I’ve listed the books in their reading and publication order; it’s up to you how you want to read them.

Start With: Indemnity Only

Indemnity Only
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In this book, we’re introduced to the main protagonist, V.I. Warshawski, a lawyer turned private investigator.

One summer night, she meets a man named John Thayer, who claims to be a prominent banker. He hires her to find a missing girl, Anita Hill, his son’s girlfriend.

While investigating, V.I. finds the body of the real John Thayer’s son. She realizes that the man lied to her, including his identity and the girl’s name, was a lie, a setup.

Determined to find the truth behind all this, she further digs up the case only to get tangled up in deep trouble. Will she be able to uncover the secrets?

V.I. Warshawski Short Stories

Besides the main series, Sara Paretsky has also written short stories using the character of private investigator V.I. Warshawski.

Start With: Photo Finish

Photo Finish
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The author wrote this short story featuring the famous PI, V.I. Warshawski. A handsome man hires the detective to find his long-lost father. V.I. is skeptical about the man’s claims and decides to investigate further.

Eventually, finding the missing man does not help solve the case but complicates it. The man says he never had any child of his own. She continues her investigation to find the identities of both men, which leads her to places she never expected and leaves her shaken to the core.

V.I. Warshawski Collections

Sara has also released a compilation of stories where V.I. comes across various cases and uses her intelligence to solve them. Below, I’ve mentioned the book’s name with V.I. Warshawski’s short story collections. Have a look!

Standalone Novels

Sara has also written two standalone novels, which I’ve mentioned below. Also added a brief description of the first one.

Brief Description of ‘Ghost Country’

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The story features three homeless women meeting during a crisis and narrates much more important topics throughout.

Luisa is a diva who is struggling with her alcohol addiction and is always drunk. A homeless woman named Madeleine sees something strange: the Virgin Mary’s blood oozing through the wall beneath a luxurious hotel. Third is Mara, a teenage girl dealing with her controlling grandfather.

Hector Tammuz is a young psychiatrist who is taking a risk by treating homeless women.

All the mentioned people’s paths cross, and a mysterious woman enters the scene. People call her Starr; she transforms their lives, and the city experiences miracles.

Sara has written an extraordinary book by giving voice to the men and women struggling for various reasons.

Short Stories/Novellas

Sara has written one novella, which I’ve mentioned below.

Brief Description of ‘Taste of Life’

Taste of Life
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The main character of this book is Daphne Raydor. She has an insatiable appetite. The woman is overweight and always doubts her ability to love. Then Daphne meets Jerry.

That’s when everything changes for the better. Her ravenous appetite decreases, and she starts to value herself more.

But when Daphne’s mother comes to visit, things start to change again. She refuses to go back to her old self, but one incident might alter everything.

Non-Fiction Books

Apart from fiction, Sara has also published non-fiction books. Have a look at the two nonfiction books she wrote.

Brief Description of ‘Writing In An Age Of Silence’

Writing In An Age Of Silence
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Writing In An Age of Silence is a memoir of the author’s life, along with narrating the struggles of civilians post 9/11.

She tells about her childhood days in rural Kansas, eccentric parents, and other hardships.

Sara also explains what inspired the character V.I. Warshawski and explores various aspects of her life and surroundings. It’s a heartfelt story incredibly written by Sara Paretsky.

Short Story Collections 

She has also written short story collections.

Deadly Allies Books

Sara wrote these books along with many other famous writers. Many authors contributed their time and literary skills to write these books.


I’ve also listed some anthologies written by Sara Paretsky.


Sara Paretsky is a fantastic author and is considered one of the best. She is still writing for her fans, and her journey is inspiring.

I hope this article on the complete list of Sara Paretsky books in order helped you comprehend the reading order. Now, you can directly start with any of her books!

Do you like the private investigator, V.I. Warshawaki? Which is your favorite book from the series? Tell me in the comments.

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