V.I. Warshawski was born on July 27th, with the sun in Leo and Gemini rising. Her chart reads: “Extremely active by nature, you like to get around and meet people. Very restless, you can’t seem to stay put. Because of the high nervous tension you always have, athletic activity would be a good way for you to burn off energy.”
Private detective is a perfect occupation for a woman with that kind of personality. These days, V.I. often complains in the books about how the Internet has changed detective work. She used to be out and about, going through public records or tailing people to get information that now is best found on line, and for someone with her active nature, sitting in front of a computer is a kind of torment.
V.I. grew up under the shadow of the old steel mills on Chicago’s South Side. Her father was a cop; her mother a refugee from Mussolini’s Italy. Her mother had aspired to an operatic career but ended up giving music lessons to neighbors’ children. She died when V.I. was in her teens, a loss that still haunts the detective. The eight red Venetian wine glasses that her mother brought with her from her home town near Orvieto are V.I.’s most prized possession. V.I. keeps cracking or breaking them, which terrifies me as much as it does the fictional character.
V.I., as her horoscope says, is impatient and restless; she doesn’t stay home long enough to keep house. Although she likes good food, she often eats on the run, spilling chili down her favorite silk blouses because she’s eating while driving. She drinks Johnnie Walker Black Label whisky and loves red wine, especially from Torgiano, the hill country where her mother grew up.
V.I. Warshawski attended the University of Chicago on an athletic scholarship, and went to law school there as well. She worked for several years in the Cook County Public Defender’s office before becoming a private investigator in 1982.
V.I. was married once as a young woman. The marriage lasted about eighteen months, when she found her husband only admired independent women from a distance. These days, she’s a serial monagamist. She lives alone, but shares two dogs with her neighbor, Mr. Contreras, a retired machinist whose main hobby is V.I. herself.
V.I.’s chart adds that she is “stubborn about her right to live her life according to her own principles. She appreciates truth and honesty; she practices it herself and expects it of others.” I couldn’t have put it better.