Charles Winecoff
October 29, 1999 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Hard Time

Current Status
In Season
Mystery and Thriller, Fiction,

We gave it a B+

The plot of this ninth novel in the V.I. Warshawski series — involving a murdered immigrant nanny, a corrupt security mogul, a pampered Hollywood actress, and a brutal prison sweatshop — may be thin, but Paretsky saves it with unruffled pacing and the gruffly compassionate voice of her lady PI. Thankfully, Warshawski hasn’t lost a streetwise beat in the years since 1994’s Tunnel Vision as she copes with her fortysomething aches and limitations, spearing everything from corporate rapacity to the American class system with her peppery humor. Let’s hope it’s not another five years before her next caper. B+

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