Deadlock by Sara Paretsky

‘Deadlock’ is Sara Paretsky’s second book in the V.I. Warshawski Mystery series.

V.I. (Vic) Warshawski is a private detective in Chicago. Her favourite cousin Boom Boom is an ex-Hockey player with the Black Hawks who after an injury now works for a grain company at their shipping terminal on Lake Michigan.

When Boom Boom slips off a dock and is killed under a ship, V.I. just can’t accept that his death was an accident. She takes it upon herself to investigate further.

The first thing she finds is a beautiful girlfriend she has never heard of who seems a bit too keen on retrieving her possessions from Boom Boom’s apartment and moving on with her life.

As V.I. starts to educate herself about the complex world of Great Lakes shipping, she gradually starts to uncover problems. There is plenty of money to be made in the business, but some people seem to be living beyond their means. There are shady deals and long term rivalries and people who obviously have secrets they would rather keep hidden.

She knows that she must be getting closer to the truth when a number of attempts are made on her life. Firstly through a car ‘accident’, then through a major shipping incident.

Of course, she eventually works out who is behind the crimes and why her much loved cousin had to die.


There were several appearances from long-term series characters in this book. V.I.’s friend Lotty, the journalist – Murray Ryerson, her father’s police colleague – Bobby Mallory and a first appearance by Roger Ferrant from Ajax insurance. I also wonder if her friendship with ship owner – Martin Bledsloe will progress further.

This was a fun, easy to read mystery. It’s a little bit dated (pagers and public phones) but an essential addition to the series. I’m looking forward to reading #3 – ‘Killing Orders’.


Book Published 1984


See a full list of books by Sara Paretsky

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