Patricia Cornwell – Looking at Kay Scarpetta

Patricia Cornwell is undoubtedly one of my favourite if not my favourite author. She is the creator of Kay Scarpetta a forensic investigator who solves a variety of connected crimes using forensics which apparently influenced the TV series CSI to a great deal. In addition she also wrote several non fiction books and a book about Jack the Ripper.

Kay Scarpetta

The character of Kay Scarpetta is modelled quite closely to herself, both were born in Florida, had a difficult childhood, worked in forensic science and ended up living in Virginia. One of the reasons I like the Scarpetta novels is because it does feel very real. She is a ‘real’ character, the reader feels for her.

So far 14 Scarpetta novels have been released and the characters have evolved throughout. Scarpettas niece Lucy has gone from a little girl to an FBI agent all the way to having her own company; Scarpetta has changed jobs, boyfriends and moved; Pete Marino [the cop] received promotions and all other sidecharacters have also changed. Cornwell describes a world that lives, because it actually changes.

The stories are gripping and although the stories are sometimes a bit too well connected, it makes sense and the suspense is good. There are many unforeseen twists and the banter between Scarpetta and Marino and the friendship between Lucy and Marino is great to read.

Kay Scarpetta is an avid cook, there are many occasions in the books that she is in the kitchen cooking for herself and others. Cornwell also created two cookbooks which have a little Scarpetta story in them and are unlike any other cookbook. The recipes are very good and I have actually made pizza like she has described once.

List of Kay Scarpetta novels:

* Postmortem (1990)
* Body of Evidence (1991)
* All That Remains (1992)
* Cruel and Unusual (1993)
* The Body Farm (1994)
* From Potter’s Field (1995)
* Cause of Death (1996)
* Unnatural Exposure (1997)
* Point of Origin (1998)
* Black Notice (1999)
* The Last Precinct (2000)
* Blow Fly (2003)
* Trace (2004)
* Predator (2005)

List of the Kay Scarpetta cookbooks:

* Scarpetta’s Winter Table (1998)
* Food to Die For: Secrets from Kay Scarpetta’s Kitchen (2002)

In recent years it appears that she has lost interest in the Scarpetta character. She still writes the books and there will be one coming out this year, but they don’t have the same tone to it. Scarpetta and others are depressed and dealing with many personal problems. In addition the books are a lot shorter and are lacking in style. Fans of the series, including myself, are hoping for the best though and it is no reason to miss out on the first 10 books.

Go ahead and read them!


There will be more on Patricia Cornwell soon. I split this post in three as it seemed a bit long.


  1. Gaskin
    Posted March 24, 2007 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    I just came to read your blog as I do every day and I see this? I didn’t even bother reading it, it’s about books! I mean come on, if a book is good enough it’ll be turned into a film. :D

  2. Sha
    Posted March 24, 2007 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    ~Makes note~ I’ll try these.

  3. Posted March 24, 2007 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    Since when do you read my blog every day? Me thinks you just accidently stopped here. :p

    As for it being books, well yes, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. You should give it a try, you know, reading…?

  4. Posted March 24, 2007 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    I read, but only books that I think will be films or that already are films. Because I’m pro.

  5. Posted March 24, 2007 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    Pro? Hahahahaha…. Oh, you weren’t joking?! :P

    They will probably make this a film at some point, although I hope they won’t.

  6. Posted March 24, 2007 at 10:55 pm | Permalink


    I do read books by the way, I just felt I should share my brothers theory on books and films.

  7. Posted March 24, 2007 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    Ah, your brothers theory, of course!

    what was the last book you read?

  8. Posted March 24, 2007 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    The Halo book.

    Proper one was a Tom Clancy one.

  9. Posted March 24, 2007 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    Fair enough. I doubt you’d like Patricia Cornwell, but you should give it a go anyway.

  10. Posted March 25, 2007 at 2:14 am | Permalink

    I’m live in Cornwall to!

  11. Posted March 25, 2007 at 2:14 am | Permalink

    You wouldn’t think so with my poor grammar ^^^^

  12. Posted March 25, 2007 at 2:22 am | Permalink

    Random comments ftw or so it seems, Toby?!

    This was about the author Patricia Cornwell, but never mind. :P

  13. Posted March 25, 2007 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    wa what now? Author? Is this about game where you have to write a book or something?

  14. Posted March 25, 2007 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    Toby, this is about reading books. You know books? They look a bit like this. :P

  15. Posted March 26, 2007 at 2:28 am | Permalink


    Yea I was thinking the same but apparently some people write about other stuff apart from games. Me and Cat talked for over 2 hours about this apparently people don’t always spend there time on the Internet or Playing Games. The there’s this thing called Real Life, it’s like Second Life without Lag but not as Fun and you have actually move your body…I told she can fuck that!

    But yea what the Hell. More Games Cat and Have you not drowned them Kittens yet? :P

  16. Posted March 26, 2007 at 2:33 am | Permalink

    Yeah, there is something that is real life, however, reading doesn’t involve you leaving your room, so I’m surprised you haven’t tried it yet, D? :P

    I am actually writing a post about games now, should be up within an hour unless I decide to do something else. Who knows!

    And I won’t drwon the kittens, but I have some new photos! :D

  17. Posted March 26, 2007 at 2:40 am | Permalink

    Stick the Book in an RSS Feed and then maybe…:P

  18. Posted March 26, 2007 at 2:43 am | Permalink

    Do you want me to find you a book that you can read online? If so, I’m sure I can find something. :P

  19. Posted March 27, 2007 at 1:10 am | Permalink

    Let’s be honest.. Me > Books.

  20. Posted March 27, 2007 at 1:25 am | Permalink

    Oh dear…. Do you really think so? :P

  21. barb
    Posted June 12, 2007 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    is benton alive or dead currently?

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] Cornwell – The search for ‘Jack the Ripper’ 2 04 2007 Whilst Patricia Cornwell is mainly known for creating the Kay Scarpetta series, she also ventured into non fiction. As for eample her book about the search for ‘Jack the […]

  2. […] Cornwell – Her other work 7 04 2007 In two previous posts I have written about Kay Scarpetta and the ‘Jack the Ripper’ case. Patricia Cornwell wrote some more […]

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