Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Body of Evidence by Patricia Cornwell

I read a couple of the books further along in this series several years ago.  It became quite evident that the main characters evolve throughout the series, so I decided to start at the beginning.

In 2011 I read the first book in the series, Postmortem.  We were introduced to Kay Scarpetta, who is the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, VA and Pete Marino who is a homicide detective.  Benton Wesley, a profiler from the FBI, also assisted with the case.  All three of these characters return in Body of Evidence to help solve the brutal murder of Beryl Madison, a local author. 

Shortly after the murder we are introduced to Mark James, who was Kay's boyfriend in law school.  They have not seen or corresponded with each other in years, so Kay found it extremely unusual when he surfaced out of the blue.  Another murder is eventually committed that relates to the Beryl Madison case and then Kay starts receiving threatening phone calls.  She can't figure out Mark's motives and begins to think he may be involved in the murders.

This book was released in 1991, so there are a lot of old school references in terms of technology but the story is still relevant.  Some of Marino's tactless comments, for lack of a better word, will likely offend some readers.  I felt that Cornwell was probably being very realistic with the conversations that would have occurred between police officers at the time, but I cannot see these comments still being made today.

The book is fast paced and contains a lot of medical and scientific details.  As a nurse I find this fascinating, but it may overwhelm some readers.  It never ceases to amaze me how this investigative team is able to piece all of the clues together.  There are so many small details which eventually reveal the big picture.

If you enjoy murder mysteries this is a very entertaining series up to this point.  There are currently 20 Kay Scarpetta books available, which seems a bit daunting to me.  I do plan on reading at least the third book in this series as part of my Top Ten Books I Resolve to Read in 2013 Challenge.     


  1. It took me an entire summer to read this series. I felt like Kay Scarpetta was going to invite me over for one of her pasta dinners before it was all over. For those that enjoy a good murder mystery, this is a good series.

    1. Kay and Marino had a spaghetti dinner in this very book. Apparently there will be more pasta dinners in my reading future.