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Body of Evidence (Kay Scarpetta) Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 1999

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Product Details

  • Series: Kay Scarpetta
  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket; Reissue edition (May 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671038567
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671038564
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (188 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,541,352 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This second commanding thriller by the Edgar Award-winning author of Postmortem and featuring forensic sleuth Dr. Kay Scarpetta was a Mystery Guild main selection as well as a Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternate in cloth. $250,000 ad/promo.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Kay Scarpetta, chief medical examiner of Virginia and heroine of Postmortem , gets involved in the case of a brutal stabbing death in Richmond of romance writer Beryl Madison. Now Madison's greedy lawyer accuses Scarpetta of losing his client's latest manuscript, an autobiographical expose of Beryl's early life as protege of a legendary novelist. As more deaths occur and the killer closes in on her, Kay suffers palpitations over the sudden and devious reappearance of long-lost lover Mark but still finds time to provide forensic details. Despite its foregone conclusion, a swift-moving, thrilling, and provocative second novel.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Patricia Cornwell was born on June 9, 1956, in Miami, Florida, and grew up in Montreat, North Carolina.

Following graduation from Davidson College in 1979, she began working at the Charlotte Observer, rapidly advancing from listing television programs to writing feature articles to covering the police beat. She won an investigative reporting award from the North Carolina Press Association for a series of articles on prostitution and crime in downtown Charlotte.

Her award-winning biography of Ruth Bell Graham, A Time for Remembering, was published in 1983. From 1984 to 1990, she worked as a technical writer and a computer analyst at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, Virginia.

Cornwell's first crime novel, Postmortem, was published by Scribner's in 1990. Initially rejected by seven major publishing houses, it became the first novel to win the Edgar, Creasey, Anthony, and Macavity Awards as well as the French Prix du Roman d'Aventure in a single year. In Postmortem, Cornwell introduced Dr. Kay Scarpetta as the intrepid Chief Medical Examiner of the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 1999, Dr. Scarpetta herself won the Sherlock Award for best detective created by an American author.

Following the success of her first novel, Cornwell has written a series of bestsellers featuring Kay Scarpetta, her detective sidekick Pete Marino and her brilliant and unpredictable niece, Lucy Farinelli, including: Body of Evidence (1991); All That Remains (1992); Cruel and Unusual (1993), which won Britain's prestigious Gold Dagger Award for the year's best crime novel; 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); Book of the Dead (2007), which won the 2008 Galaxy British Book Awards' Books Direct Crime Thriller of the Year, making Cornwell the first American ever to win this award; Scarpetta (2008); The Scarpetta Factor (2009); Port Mortuary (2010); Red Mist (2011); The Bone Bed (2012); and Dust (2013). In 2011 Cornwell was awarded the Medal of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters, one of France's most prestigious awards to honor those who have distinguished themselves in the domains of art or literature, or by their contribution to the development of culture in France and throughout the world.

In addition to the Scarpetta novels, she has written three best-selling books featuring Andy Brazil: Hornet's Nest (1996), Southern Cross (1998) and Isle of Dogs (2001); two cook books: Scarpetta's Winter Table (1998) and Food to Die For (2001); and a children's book: Life's Little Fable (1999). In 1997, Cornwell updated A Time for Remembering, which was reissued as Ruth, A Portrait: The Story of Ruth Bell Graham. Intrigued by Scotland Yard's John Grieve's observation that no one had ever tried to use modern forensic evidence to solve the murders committed by Jack the Ripper, Cornwell began her own investigation of the serial killer's crimes. In Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper--Case Closed (2002), she narrates her discovery of compelling evidence to indict the famous artist Walter Sickert as the Ripper.

In January 2006, the New York Times Magazine began a 15-week serialization of At Risk, featuring Massachusetts State Police investigator Win Garano and his boss, district attorney Monique Lamont. Its sequel, The Front, was serialized in the London Times in the spring of 2008. Both novellas were subsequently published as books and promptly optioned for adaptation by Lifetime Television Network, starring Daniel Sunjata and Andie MacDowell. The films made their debut in April 2010.

In April 2009, Fox acquired the film rights to the Scarpetta novels, featuring Angelina Jolie as Dr. Kay Scarpetta. Cornwell herself wrote and co-produced the movie ATF for ABC.

Often interviewed on national television as a forensic consultant, Cornwell is a founder of the Virginia Institute of Forensic Science and Medicine, a founding member of the National Forensic Academy, a member of the Advisory Board for the Forensic Sciences Training Program at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, NYC, and a member of the Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital's National Council, where she is an advocate for psychiatric research. She is also well known for her philanthropic contributions to animal rescue and criminal justice, as well as endowing college scholarships and promoting the cause of literacy on the national scene. Some of her projects include the establishment of an ICU at Cornell's Animal Hospital, the archaeological excavation of Jamestown and the scientific study of the Confederacy's submarine H.L. Hunley. Most recently, she donated a million dollars to Harvard's Fogg Museum to establish a chair in inorganic science.

Cornwell's books have been translated into 36 languages across more than 50 countries, and she is regarded as one of the major international best-selling authors. Her novels are praised for their meticulous research and an insistence on accuracy in every detail, especially in forensic medicine and police procedures. She is so committed to verisimilitude that, among other accomplishments, she became a helicopter pilot and a certified scuba diver, and qualified for a motorcycle license because she was writing about characters who were doing these things. "It is important to me to live in the world I write about," she often says. "If I want a character to do or know something, I want to do or know the same thing."

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Customer Reviews

This will keep your interest all the way to the end.
After reading the first book in the series, I felt good enough to want to read the second book sooner rather than later.
S. A. Johnson
Very well developed, the story has a carefully constructed surprise ending along with a host of interesting characters.
Roz Leiman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 58 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 11, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Kay Scarpetta series is best read in chronological sequence, as each new novel builds on developments from the previous ones, and knowledge of this history is to some degree assumed. Thus, if you're going to read one of the series, this is the one.
Some reviewers here criticize the lack of non-stop action. To the contrary, I think the style is highly effective. Cornwell indulges in her well-developed, diverse characters with introspection and dialog. Furthermore, investigations are not a linear progression -- everything isn't always wrapped up in a tidy little package, every piece of evidence isn't used, and every fact isn't explained. But that's life.
The series has also been criticized for being a bit "nerdy". But that's appropriate -- it's strength. The use of evidence and the examination of the crime scene reminds me of my favorite crime author, Canon Doyle. The magnifying glass is replaced by a substantially more expensive apparatus, but the attention paid to analytic methods and thinking is quite enjoyable.
The combination of rich character development and intellectual analysis makes this a really enjoyable book, and worthwhile series. I really highly recommend it. The only reason I don't give it 5 stars is I reserve that for the highest tier of fiction, and I'm not sure this is quite there. But it's certainly some of the best work I've read in a long time.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By S. A. Johnson on June 5, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
After reading the first book in the series, I felt good enough to want to read the second book sooner rather than later. Book two is fashioned out of some of the basic framework as the first but with enough changes to the facade that it really doesn't detract too much from the story.

Most of the same characters are back for this installment with some new players thrown in. The forensics play along and provide physical clues to go along with the psychological clues. Like the first book, we are given plenty of clues to figure out the twist and don't feel like we've been cheated when it is revealed. As with the first book, I like that we only see what Kay sees and nothing more or less.

Kay Scarpetta, we learn, will always be very *involved* with her work and that will always play havoc with her personal life. Even this early in the series, that thread is obvious. Fortunately, even though this running thread is becoming concrete and will remain in future books, it doesn't overwhelm the main story.

The plot of this one is a little more convoluted than the first. There are several interweaving plots that connect or seem to connect and they provide us with quite a bit of depth in the mystery. What starts out fairly straightforward quickly becomes messy and confusing (on purpose) but comes together fairly nicely at the end.

For a second novel, this one does well and doesn't fall into many of the traps and pitfalls that are out there and because of that, I'll be reading the third.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By - Kasia S. VINE VOICE on June 10, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This book, really went into nice character development. By the middle of it, I felt like Beryl Madison, the first victim, was a real person, and I too wanted to know how she died, why and who did it.
I had a very hard time putting it down, when it was 4am, its a page turner. The evidence and clues are amazing, and they really make u think.
Overall, an excellnt medical thriller mystery....And despite what anyone says, I like Scarpetta, shes not harsh or feministic. She's just perfect.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By clifford on May 15, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is not Patricia Cornwell's best book. I have read two others by her, a little out of order, `Body Farm,' which is a magnificent mystery/thriller achievement and `Postmortem' was a grand opening to what is turning out to be a wholly engrossing series I hope. But `Body of Evidence' felt like an unsure sophomore effort on the part of Cornwell. Not that it was bad, I have no real glaring complaints about this book, but on the other hand the plot was a bit clunky. I think that if you do read the entire series, which is my plan, this is an adequate book that won't leave you terribly disappointed. It just felt a little unnecessary, as if you were renting the 14th James Bond flick. The book was fun, but predictable and pretty much the same as its predecessor. All of that aside, having started in the middle of the series with `Body Farm', I know in advance that Scarpetta will undergo a series of personal upheavals that I will enjoy encountering I am sure as the novels progress.

My main complaint here (and this could be a spoiler) is that the ending is almost identical to `Postmortem'. Not only that, but it was a fair stretch to pull Scarpetta in as the victim here. I just did not buy it. Also, as she travels around, the descriptions of place were a little underwhelming as others have pointed out. I felt like the first half of the book; Cornwell was attempting to imitate some of Agatha Christie's work here. The second half of the book became a mish mash of styles that set up a wholly new genre; only it was done here unclearly and ultimately unsatisfactorily.

If you like Cornwells books, I would recommend two other authors that don't go way over the top.
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