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.
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.