Patricia Cornwell has sold over 100 million books. She sold her first novel, Postmortem, while working as a computer analyst at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, Virginia. Postmortem, was the first bona fide forensic thriller. It paved the way for an explosion of entertainment featuring in all things forensic across film, television and literature.
Postmortem would go on to win the Edgar, Creasey, Anthony, and Macavity awards as well as the French Prix du Roman d’Aventure prize – the first book ever to claim all these distinctions in a single year. To date, Cornwell’s books have sold some 100 million copies in thirty-six languages in over 120 countries. She’s authored twenty-nine New York Times bestsellers.
When not writing from her Boston home, Patricia tirelessly researches cutting-edge forensic technologies to include in her work. Her interests span outside the literary: Patricia co-founded of the Conservation Scientist Chair at the Harvard University Art Museums. She appears as a forensic consultant on CNN and serves as a member of Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital’s National Council, where she advocates for psychiatric research. She’s helped fund the ICU at Cornell’s Animal Hospital, the scientific study of a Confederate submarine, the archaeological excavation of Jamestown, and a variety of law enforcement charities. Patricia is also committed to funding scholarships and literacy programs. Her advice to aspiring authors: “Start writing. And don’t take no for an answer.”
The new Scarpetta novel is called Autopsy. The Greek root of the word means to see for yourself.
The Doc and her crew are looking forward to seeing you 30/11/2021
Dr. Kay Scarpetta hunts an ingenious killer who has mastered cutting-edge science for the most nefarious ends. Forensic pathologist Kay Scarpetta has returned to Virginia as the chief medical examiner. Finding herself the new girl in town once again after being away for many years, she’s inherited an overbearing secretary and a legacy of neglect and possible corruption. She and her husband Benton Wesley, now a forensic psychologist with the U.S. Secret Service, have relocated to Old Town Alexandria where she’s headquartered five miles from the Pentagon in a post-pandemic world that’s been torn by civil and political unrest. Just weeks on the job, she’s called to a scene by railroad tracks where a woman’s body has been shockingly displayed, her throat cut down to the spine, and as Scarpetta begins to follow the trail, it leads unnervingly close to her own historic neighborhood. At the same time, a catastrophe occurs in a top secret private laboratory in outer space, and at least two scientists aboard are found dead. Appointed to the highly classified Doomsday Commission that specializes in sensitive national security cases, Scarpetta is summoned to the White House Situation Room and tasked with finding out what happened. But even as she works the first crime scene in space remotely, an apparent serial killer strikes again. And this time, Scarpetta could be in greater danger than ever before!
Which six books will you take to the Island?
If I’m thinking about six books I would have with me on a deserted island, I will rule out those that might help with my survival. The girl scout handbook I had as a kid, for example. From that I would be reminded about such essentials as how to build a fire or find my way out of the woods.
I might want a few other handbooks about Morse Code, catching fish, building a boat or various tomes about the meaning of existence and what to expect in the Afterlife. But assuming this is a nonlethal and enjoyable isolation, I will mention works of literature that I truly wouldn’t want to be without.
These are books that I have read more than once. I find myself repeatedly going back to them even when I’m consumed with writing.
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
One of the most important books in history, and still vibrant and horrifying today. An ancestor of mine, the abolitionist author demonstrated courage that’s unimaginable, and it’s important to be reminded of our worst capabilities.
I can’t imagine what it was like for her when those she most offended would respond with hate mail that on occasion included severed body parts.
Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol.
As I’m lonely and hungry on my deserted island, I can be reminded that at least I don’t work for Scrooge. Dickens is in a league all his own, and was ahead of his time is so many ways. He wrote two encyclopaedias while wandering about London and the Thames, and if you stuck him on a deserted island, he’d probably make better use of his time than I would.