Sara Paretsky lives in Chicago with her husband and their golden retriever. She is the author of eight V.I. Warshawski novels, a short story collection, Windy City Blues, and the editor of A Woman's Eye and Women on the Case.
The focus of this novel is the plight of homeless women on the streets of Chicago. Madeline, a woman living in a box, sees the Virgin Mary's blood in a crack in a wall where others see a rusty leaking pipe. Louisa, a once celebrated opera singer, is headed for the streets because of a drinking problem. Mara, a young woman from a financially secure situation, feels forced to leave home because of difficult family relationships. The social issue here dominates the story line. Paretsky (Windy City Blues, Audio Reviews, LJ 5/1/96) forces us to take a look at the homeless and their vulnerability to cruel treatment from some quarters. She also reveals the indifference to their circumstances on the part of ordinary citizens who do not want to get involved. Reader Melissa Manchester creates well-defined characterizations. She vividly expresses the emotion and anger of the participants in this drama. Recommended for fiction collections.‘Catherine Swenson, Norwich Univ., Northfield, VT