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Body of Evidence Paperback – Jun 11 1992


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 387 pages
  • Publisher: Time Warner Paperbacks; New edition edition (June 11 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0708853277
  • ISBN-13: 978-0708853276
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 11 x 2.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 222 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,222,554 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This second commanding thriller by the Edgar Award-winning author of Postmortem and featuring forensic sleuth Dr. Kay Scarpetta was a Mystery Guild main selection as well as a Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternate in cloth. $250,000 ad/promo.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

From Library Journal

Kay Scarpetta, chief medical examiner of Virginia and heroine of Postmortem , gets involved in the case of a brutal stabbing death in Richmond of romance writer Beryl Madison. Now Madison's greedy lawyer accuses Scarpetta of losing his client's latest manuscript, an autobiographical expose of Beryl's early life as protege of a legendary novelist. As more deaths occur and the killer closes in on her, Kay suffers palpitations over the sudden and devious reappearance of long-lost lover Mark but still finds time to provide forensic details. Despite its foregone conclusion, a swift-moving, thrilling, and provocative second novel.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
RETURNING THE KEY WEST LETTERS TO THEIR MANILA folder, I got out a packet of surgical gloves, tucked it inside my black medical bag, and took the elevator down one floor to the morgue. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
This mystery involves a series of deaths that somehow all tie together -- yet it is far from clear how, as there are no clear suspects. After the first 50 pages or so, this turned into a real page-turner for me.
The plot involves a young female writer who is being stalked and, at the very beginning of the story, stabbed to death in her own home. Who has been stalking her, why, and is that the killer? The writer may have been writing her autobiography, which would include things someone didn't want written. This could be a motive -- but it could be something else entirely. Eventually Scarpetta (the medical examiner/detective in Cornwell's mysteries) is herself being stalked, apparently by the same killer -- whoever that is. A missing manuscript may hold the key clue to the identity of the killer, but where is the manuscript? And why has a an old lover suddenly reappeared in Scarpetta's life and then just as suddenly disappeared? There's a lot of questions to be asked and the pace of the book is pretty quick.
Now the down side: I find the editorial voice in Cornwell's mysteries annoying, and it's a shame, because the books are so well researched and plotted. But Scarpetta isn't very likable, and Cornwell clearly places great priority on physical beauty. Good people are generally attractive and thin, unattractive people are either comic, annoying, or evil. The narcissism of the author also seems to come through in her character Scarpetta, who is supposed to be wonderful and admirable, but just isn't. Scarpetta comes across as self-absorbed, arrogant, and shallow.
Otherwise, this is a very well-written book.
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By A Customer on Feb. 4 2003
Format: Audio Cassette
I am a big Patricia Cornwell fan and an even bigger fan of murder mysteries on tape or CD. What I've found in all my listening is that the ability of the reader to act out the various voices - to act and not just read, period - is as critical to the listeners' enjoyment as a good plot. I don't know who made the poor decision to enlist Lindsay Crouse as the "reader" of this book, but it was a very bad decision. In the couple hundred audio books I've listed to, she is the third worst - only Jack Welch and the Rich Dad Poor Dad author reading their own books are worse. (Seriously, hire an actor - spend the money and don't do it yourself, particularly if you are a monotone reader or have speech problems like Jack admits he does.) Lindsay has one tone and one voice she uses for all characters, making it both excruciatingly boring and impossible to tell which character is talking at any point. Further, she sounds like she has a cold and talks painfully slowly, I had to keep stopping the tape and backing it up because I kept zoning her out. I have yet to finish the tapes. Do any of you remember the Visine ad guy? She sounds exactly like him but female. I am very frustrated that I paid good money for tapes too boring to get through and I just can't believe any agent or producer (author, for that matter) heard these tapes before they went to distribution and thought, "YES! Yes! That's the voice we're looking for!" I gave it one star only because Patricia Cornwell wrote it.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
If Patricia Daniels Cornwell were one of only a few mystery writers around, I would tell prospective readers sure, go ahead and read *Body of Evidence*, as it's basically a decent read. However, it's sufficiently flawed and uneven that it leads me toward recommending that people bypass this book in favor of others that are more worthy of attention.
The protagonist Dr. Kay Scarpetta is interesting enough and the insights into the work of a forensic pathologist are morbidly intriguing (yes, I used to watch "Quincy" on TV, too). But what makes or breaks a mystery novel is the way that the plot is structured and the characters relate to one another. In a first-rate mystery, there are slight *possible* clues offered early on that later turn out to be pivotal to how the case is resolved. Here, however, Cornwell commits one of the cardinal sins of mystery writing: she creates a virtually unrelated character as the primary villain, one who isn't even introduced until halfway through the book. This results in an almost deus-ex-machina feel to the resolution of the crime(s). She also presents an unbelievably hokey identity twist that serves to bring some rather banally presented romantic interest into the story.
I can say no more here, lest I act as a "spoiler," boo, hiss. Let me add, however, that her descriptions of places are not a strong point. Having spent time in Key West, I didn't particularly feel that the island "came alive" through her depiction of it.
Overall, this book seems to reveal a still inexperienced writer who simply is still feeling her way along within the difficult but also overcrowded mystery genre.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Although I was duly impressed with Body of Evidence, I have to say that it, contrary to many of the opinions of my contemporary reviewers, does not measure up to Cornwell's previous novel, Postmortem. The first one hundred pages or so moved very slowly and were hard to get through, and for the most part, the plot moved a lot slower than the aforementioned book. I have to say, though, that the ending was ingenious. I really liked the way that everything came together, and how you could go back and see how well everything fit into the story. My only other criticism is that although I am glad that Dr. Kay has finally found romance with Mark James, I could have lived without the soap opera-like dialogue between the two of them at the beginning of the book. Those conversations (as well as Dr. Kay's excessive use of the "B word") really detracted from what was happening. Overall, Body of Evidence is another genius work by Cornwell, and a satisfactory follow-up to Postmortem.
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