SARA PARETSKY “The Case of the Pietro Andromache.” PI V. I. Warshawski. Novelette. First published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, December 1988. Collected in Windy City Blues (Delacorte, hardcover, 1995). Reprinted in Sisters in Crime, edited by Marilyn Wallace (Berkley, paperback, 1989), and in Women on the Edge, edited by Martin H. Greenberg (Dutton, hardcover, 1992).

   I believe, but I am not positive about this, that this is one of few stories “Vic” Warshawski is in that is not told in first person. She’s brought in only after the fact, after her good friend Lotty has been arrested for killing another doctor in the hospital where she works. They didn’t get along to begin with, but the other man’s death occurred after Lottie had bitterly accused him of theft, that of a valuable sculpture that went missing in Europe during World War II.

   Paretsky’s writing is as smooth as usual, but leaving the story to be told in third person allows Vic to do all of the detective work off stage, only to be revealed later, in a “gather all the suspects together” final scene. Even though there is one solid clue in the form of a piece of dialogue that we, the reader, are privy to, the ending I found to be mystery story light and very disappointing.