Revisiting Scarpetta…


                                                    Flesh and Bone by Patricia Cornwell

Quite a few years ago now, I was a huge fan of Kay Scarpetta, the forensic queen in Patricia Cornwell’s books. Long before I started writing my own mystery thriller books, I fell under the spell of Cornwell’s eerie writing style. The scrupulous attention to detail, the graphic clinical descriptions, not to mention the character herself.

I have followed the life and career of this fictitious character, and for me she has become an old friend. I knew her as if she were family.

However, life has a nasty habit of getting in the way of all things eventually, and it was several years before I found another Scarpetta book in my hand. At first, I couldn’t find the old magic between the pages and it all seemed strange and far too technical. It was so much more business-like than I remembered, and I put it down a lot, thinking that one of us had moved on.

But there was one element that drew me back like a moth to a flame. Seven shiny copper pennies, deliberately lined up on Scarpetta’s garden wall, and the mysterious name ‘Copperhead’. Half way through the book and the magic returned as if I had never been away.

I am now reading Depraved Heart, the next Scarpetta book and I’m glad to be back. Patricia Cornwell writes like no other, the combination of clinical detachment necessary for the work Scarpetta does, and her personal life. The horrible drama interlaced with humour and humanity makes for a riveting read.

My definition of brilliant book is one that makes me want to write, and right now, I need another piece of paper…