Prolific Crime novelist Patricia Cornwell was born 9 June 1956 in Miami, Florida. Her father was one of the leading appellate lawyers in the United States and served as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black. In 1961, Cornwell’s family moved to Montreat, North Carolina, where her mother was hospitalized for depression. Cornwell and her brothers, Jim and John, were placed in the foster care system. Cornwell attended King College in Bristol, Tennessee, before transferring to Davidson College, where she graduated with a B.A. in English. In 1979, Cornwell started working as a reporter for The Charlotte Observer and soon began covering crime. Her biography of family friend Ruth Bell Graham, A Time for Remembering (renamed Ruth, A Portrait: The Story of Ruth Bell Graham in subsequent editions), was published in 1983. In 1984, she took a job at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Virginia. She worked there for six years, first as a technical writer and then as a computer analyst. She also volunteered to work with the Richmond Police Department. Cornwell wrote three novels that she says were rejected before the publication, in 1990, of the first installment of her Scarpetta series, Postmortem, was published, which features Massachusetts Chief Medical Examiner Kay Sarpetta.
One of the latest Patricia Cornwell crime thrillers I have read is Dust in which Scarpetta investigates the murder of a missing computer engineer named Gail Shipton, who appears to have been been murdered, shortly before the trial of her $100 million lawsuit against her former financial managers, and Scarpetta also fears the case may have a connection with her computer genius niece, Lucy. Scarpetta suspects that the person responsible is the Capital Murderer, whose most recent sexual homicides have terrorized Washington, D.C. Scarpetta begins to suspect that certain people in the government, including her boss, don’t want the killer caught and discover a force far more sinister than a sexual predator who fits the criminal classification of a “spectacle killer.”. Scarpetta soon finds herself involved in the dark world of designer drugs, drone technology, organized crime, and shocking corruption at the highest levels.
Another Gripping and suspenseful Patricia Cornwell novel Which I have read is Red Mist, which again features chief medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta, who is on a quest to find out exactly what happened to her former deputy chief, Jack Fielding, who was murdered six months before , so against the advice of her FBI criminal intelligence agent husband, Benton Wesley, Scarpetta meets a convicted sex offender and the mother of a vicious and diabolically brilliant killer, who may have information not only on Fielding, but also on a string of grisly killings. Then when more inexplicable deaths begin to occur. Scarpetta, discovers that what she thought ended with Fielding’s death and an attempt on her own life is only the beginning and discovers conspiracies and terrorism on an international scale.
In addition to the Scarpetta novels, Cornwell has written three pseudo-police fictions, known as the Trooper Andy Brazil/Superintendent Judy Hammer series, which are set in North Carolina, Virginia, and off the mid-Atlantic coast. Besides the older-woman/younger-man premise, the books include discomforting themes of scatology and sepsis. Cornwell has also been involved in a continuing, self-financed search for evidence to support her theory that painter Walter Sickert was Jack the Ripper. She wrote Portrait of a Killer—Jack the Ripper: Case Closed, which was published in 2002 causing much controversy, especially within the British art world. She believed Sickert to be responsible for the string of murders and had purchased over thirty of his paintings and argued that they closely resembled the Ripper crime scenes, and also discovered a letter written by someone purporting to be the killer.