So it was a shock to find out that this year is the 25th anniversary of Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta character.
When Post Mortem hit the bookstores in 1990, it was a revelation. Here was a story about a medical examiner that was unflinching in its descriptions about what goes on in the autopsy room.
As the medical examiner of Richmond, Virginia, Scarpetta took readers where they had not gone before, showing how the evidence that a medical examiner can uncover may change an investigation. In many ways, she helped launch a fascination with forensic research.
There is no question that Scarpetta was a ground-breaker.
She was on the scene first—before there were the television seriesCSI, NCIS and all the others.
Cornwell’s early novels were a revelation—well plotted, with unusual characters and a lesson in science and forensics for readers.
Even those readers who didn’t think they cared about science learned how a lot. And came back for more, novel after novel.
Cornwell also has used her success for science.
She has co-founded the Conservation Scientist Chair at the Harvard University Art Museums, 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. Cornwell also has helped fund scholarships and literacy programs.
Depraved Heart, Cornwell’s 23rd novel in her Scarpetta series, is now out.
The plot touches on the suspicious death of a Hollywood mogul’s daughter, aircraft wreckage on the bottom of the sea in the Bermuda Triangle, and videos from a relative’s past that threaten Scarpetta’s personal life.