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Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell

Postmortem (1990)

by Patricia Cornwell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Kay Scarpetta (1)

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5,810881,055 (3.66)90

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Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
Not a couldn't put down book but still a damn good story. Interesting to read about the state of the art technology of the day. Liked the Kay Scarpetta character and as this is the first of a long series there's plenty more to be looking forward to. ( )
  laisyleeola | Sep 11, 2017 |
Spoller Alert!!!!!

This novel is the first in the Dr. Kay Scarpetta series. The story opens as Dr. Scarpetta, Chief Medical Examiner for the state of Virginia, receives an early-morning call from Sergeant Pete Marino, a homicide detective at the Richmond Police Department with whom Scarpetta has a tense working relationship. They meet at the scene of a woman's gruesome strangling, the latest in a string of unsolved serial killings in Richmond.

The killer leaves behind a few clues; among them are a mysterious substance which sparkles and glows under laser light, traces of semen, and in the vicinity of the last murder, an unusual smell, sort of mapely. Scarpetta and Marino work with FBI profiler, Benton Wesley to attempt to piece together a profile of the killer. Initial evidence appears to point to the fourth victim's husband, (the husband is always the first suspect), but Scarpetta suspects otherwise despite Marino's insistence. The book references DNA profiling a relatively new technique, (book was published in 2003.) the characters briefly bemoan the lack of a criminal DNA database which could provide better leads to suspects, given available evidence.

Meanwhile in her personal life, Scarpetta must deal with the presence of her extremely precocious ten-year-old niece, Lucy, as well as an uncertain romantic relationship with the local Commonwealth's attorney.

During the investigation, a series of news leaks about the murders appear to be coming from a source within the medical examiner's office. The leaks threaten Scarpetta's position, especially after she is forced to admit that her office database has been compromised.

Believing that the killer thrives on media attention and hoping to flush him out by provoking his ego, Scarpetta, Wesley, and local investigative reporter Abby Turnbull (whose sister was the fifth victim), conspire to release a news story which suggests that the killer has a distinctive body odor due to a rare metabolic disease and implies that the killer may be mentally disordered.

While attempting to find another link between the five murders, Scarpetta stumbles on the fact that that all five victims had recently called 911. Might the killer be a 911 operator, Kay Wonder's. Could he have chosen his victims based on their voices?

Scarpetta is awakened in the middle of the night by a presence in her bedroom. Lucy is also asleep in the house. It is the killer who has broken into her home. As she attempts to reach for a gun she has under her pillow for protection, Marino bursts into her bedroom and shoots the intruder, having realized that the news article would make Scarpetta a likely target. Scarpetta's suspicion proves to be correct; the killer was a 911 dispatcher. ( )
  jothebookgirl | Jan 3, 2017 |
Boy, times have changed since this book was written!

This is another reread for me, and another one that I was pretty bored with. The technology has changed so much, and at first it was laughable, and then it just got boring. I was hoping to get back into the series so I'd know what my next dozen books would be (I'm stuck in a rut with my reading right now, having a hard time getting into anything) and I'm just not feeling this one either, though when I first read it years ago, I enjoyed the series. According to goodreads, I reread this one at least once before, in 2009. ( )
  anastaciaknits | Oct 29, 2016 |
Solid start to this series though a little predictable. ( )
  brakketh | Oct 13, 2016 |
Well done police procedural, although I wonder if real medical examiners get so involved in solving cases.---at least on the TV series I've seen, they don't. Dr. Scarpetta also has to deal with sexism, office politics, and her sister, a children's book writer who elopes with her illustrator instead of paying attention to her daughter, Lucy. Lucy, a ten-year-old genius, is able to help with computer problems in a time of floppy disks and modems. I was convinced that I had solved whodunit early on, but then characters in the book began suspecting him and I was, once again, completely wrong. The solution was quite reasonable, even if it didn't follow the traditional rules of a mystery book.

(N.B.: The author changed her name to Patricia Cornwell to later books.) ( )
  raizel | Aug 24, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patricia Cornwellprimary authorall editionscalculated
Amante, MarcoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beltran, CarlosCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gudmundsen, Per KristianTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zeelenberg, AnnetteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Book description
A brilliant human monster--a "Mr. Nobody"--moves undetected through a paralyzed city, leaving behind a gruesome trail of carnage..but few clues. With an unerring eye and the latest advances in forensic research, medical examiner Kay Scarpetta sets out to unmask a maniac. But someone is trying to sabotage Kay's investigation from the inside. And someone wants her dead.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743477154, Mass Market Paperback)

Under cover of night in Richmond, Virginia, a human monster strikes, leaving a gruesome trail of stranglings that has paralyzed the city. Medical examiner Kay Scarpetta suspects the worst: a deliberate campaign by a brilliant serial killer whose signature offers precious few clues. With an unerring eye, she calls on the latest advances in forensic research to unmask the madman. But this investigation will test Kay like no other, because it's being sabotaged from within and someone wants her dead.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:59 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

A serial killer is strangling victims, and Kay Scarpetta has to use forensic science to find him, before she is killed.

» see all 18 descriptions

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