I felt the story started off pretty slow, but once Indemnity Only got started, it didn’t stop. I was a little weary when this book had about 320 pages (because I dreaded reading that much) but I realized that this hardboiled novel added in a side of the detective we hadn’t seen before, probably because of her sex. Paretsky adds in a much more everyday and personal side to the detective in the sense of V.I. worrying about her weight, what she’s eating, her sleep schedule, exercise, and close personal connections and friendships that other earlier male detectives did not seem to have. This gives Indemnity Only more emotion in my eyes, especially when Jill is brought into the picture.
Jill, for the short amount of time that she is around V.I., seems to have a profound impact on V.I. in the sense of a daughter that she didn’t have. It’s brought up once or twice how V.I. is calls herself too independent for relationships, as we see in the end with Ralph, but also she thinks/wishes she could have had a daughter, or at least a family of her own. But, we have to remember that her not having a family was her choice. V.I.’s marriage from 8 years previous is brought up two or three times, saying that they were only together for about 18 months, and that V.I. couldn’t pull off the whole ‘house-wife’ routine. It’s interesting to see this brought up in Paretsky’s novel and it’s something that occurs even today; women giving up a family for a career. V.I. reminisces yes, but I don’t think she is bothered by her decision to choose the career that she is passionate for over a family. Besides, she’s got Jill to see every now and then right? Happy ending right?
I also want to point out that Lotty is also a single female working in the medical field, working with many children daily, yet having non of her own. It seems that this idea of female strength and independence runs deep throughout the book. Through Lotty, V.I.’s career, V.I.’s relationships, and also the UWU meetings and the women there. I also like the juxtaposition of Mrs. Thayer, a woman who did not have a career and was the housewife to a rich, successful man, and how she was played out to be self-absorbed and unable to fend for herself.
Anyways, something that really grinds my gears are inept henchmen. I mean honestly, can you seriously not find someone who know how to hold a gun without getting emotional? Come on now… it reminds me of Austin Powers:
Seriously you can’t find someone better? But beyond that, between Masters, Tony and Earl, you would think that V.I. would not be able to take them all down? Why would they not ALL have guns? It stupid people like them that make organized crime seem unorganized, and V.I. like a karate master who could snap bones with the blink of an eye. I mean…damn…
Also, I think V.I. got lucky when it comes to figuring all the pieces to the puzzle out. She admits it herself that she didn’t have hard evidence but only a hunch, or a guess. She gets especially lucky that she stops he mad bar search to eat at that exact restaurant where Masters and McGraw met?Hmm….
I really did enjoy the ending. I felt it was needed, to bring it full circle, the reunion of father and daughter. Paretsky does a good job at leaving some things blurry there at the end, like the reconciliation between Anita and her father, but also what happens to Jill. I wonder, since this is the first in a series of V.I. Warshawski novels, if any of the same characters or themes tie into the next books?