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A Kay Scarpetta Novel,
by Patricia Cornwell

postmortemPostmortem is an award-winning mystery novel that introduces Dr. Kay Scarpetta to the literary world. Scarpetta is a determined and intensive bulldog when it comes to solving cases that come to her through the morgue. As the chief medical examiner for the Commonwealth of Virginia, Kay Scarpetta narrates her personal search for a vicious serial killer who has terrified the city of Richmond.

A string of rapes and strangulations has the southern city in the grips of fear. The police are under incredible pressure to find the killer and, not surprisingly, the mostly male police force resent what they perceive to be interference by Scarpetta. Of course, Kay Scarpetta is partly to blame here as she is certainly is pushy enough to make any male chauvinist want to consider strangling her on the spot!

Cornwell, who is a former crime reporter and spent time working in a medical examiner's office, speaks with authority and knowledge in this mystery. We are given a primer on the latest forensic techniques as Scarpetta becomes obsessed with finding the strangler that she has dubbed, "Mr. Nobody." The novel is at its most compelling when we follow Scarpetta as she devotes endless days and evenings to tracking down the smallest clue in the case.

Based in part on a real-life crime spree by a murderer known in Richmond as the "South Side Strangler", Postmortem, was the genesis of Cornwell's career as one of the most popular mystery writers of the last decade. Many of her fans consider this her best novel and if you've been fascinated by the way that modern science has been successfully used to catch criminals, you won't want to miss reading Postmortem.

Read our biography of Patricia Cornwell.