Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Body of Evidence (Kay Scarpetta, #2)” as Want to Read:
Blank 133x176
Body of Evidence
Patricia Cornwell
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Body of Evidence (Kay Scarpetta #2)

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  46,013 ratings  ·  734 reviews
Someone is after Beryl Madison -- spying on her, making threatening phone calls. Terrified, she flees to Key West. When she comes back home it's not harassment that's's murder. Someone kills her, someone she trusted enough to open her door to.

Police work begins with Dr. Kay Scarpetta, Chief Medical Examiner. She finds laboratory clues no one wants to believe.
Hardcover, Large Print
Published September 1st 1994 by Thorndike Press (first published 1991)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Body of Evidence, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Body of Evidence

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
First read: c. 2005
Re-read: August 2015
Plot: Scarpetta and Marino must track down the stalker/ killer of a talented young writer, while at the same time a romantic interest from Kay's past makes an appearance and seems more involved in the case Kay is investigating than it first appears.

What I liked:

- Opening of the novel with the letters written by Beryl, they are lovely and descriptive.

- The literary themed mystery. I thought some of the scenes seemed to be an homage to Agatha Christie's myste
This series is what I call a "guilty pleasure". Not at all high-brow, but easy to read thrillers with some mystery, and I have to admit that I enjoy the gruesome details about forensic pathology. Being an engineering type, I like to know the details behind things, how things work, in particular when it comes to problem solving or investigative techniques.

I do love the character of Kay Scarpetta; she's a strong, smart woman who is also attractive. She makes me nuts sometimes when she does risky t
3.5 stars. Not nearly as good as the first in the series, but I know this series gets better. I don't think I ever read this one, though. There were some interesting twists in this, definitely not what I would have guessed. A solid entry in the series, but without the crackle of the first, Postmortem. I'll definitely continue with the series.
I used to teach this installment of the Scarpetta series as the example of the "mystery" genre in a novels class.

Basic Plot: a writer of historical romances is found murdered, and Kay Scarpetta is on the case again.

Considering the fact that I taught this book, I remember it fairly well, even years after reading it. The pacing was good and there were plenty of red herrings that I used to love to use to torture my students with. If I have any complaints about it, they lie in the fact that the "big
Gregory Stenson
This was my first Patricia Cornwall and I enjoyed the quality of writing but overall I think the detail was overwhelming and I'm not sure I will be reading another PC just yet. I have to acknowledge that the story did lead you down certain routes and the truth was revealed. There was a lot of dialogue and protracted evidence and technical descriptions which I found a little laborious.
Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
Need to be reviewed.

EDIT: I actually prefer the later books to the early books. I think her writing got stronger.

Mariano was so unlikeable in the early books.

Cornwell brings Dr. Kay Scarpetta back in the critically acclaimed series to test her wiles in a new and disturbing manner. When a murdered author is found in her home, investigators are left with little to know insight, which bothers Scarpetta almost as much as the slaying itself. Questions grow exponentially while answers remain deftly hidden behind layers of the victim’s past. Scarpetta and the police being piecing things together, discovering a deeper back story related to her current piece ...more
This is the second Kay Scarpetta murder mystery, and I found it even better than the first one, if only because the killer did not come out of nothing, but was previously mentioned in passing earlier in the book. (Scarpetta observes in this book that murder does not happen in a vacuum; everything is connected somehow. And that is also how murder mystery novels should be.)

It is 1987, a year after the previous book; Kay Scarpetta is still the Chief Medical Examiner for Virginia, Pete Marino is now
The heroine is Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the Chief Medical Examiner in Virginia. Oh, no, you say, another Ouincv. Wrong, corpse-breath. Scarpetta is intelligent, short, (we don't know whether she is attractive or not, a relief) and she doesn't swoon over each drooling Sylvester Stallone imitation that happens by. (That's something I've always wondered about: How does Travis McGee, the blue-Rolls-Royce-truck-driving hero of John MacDonald's colored-titled novels avoid AIDS, since he seems to have the se ...more
An author receiving threatening phone calls decides to hide for a while down in Key West and work on her memoir. She’s murdered the very night she sets foot back in Richmond. Kay Scarpetta, Richmond Chief Medical Examiner, investigates the case along with the intensely dislikable Lieutenant Marino. It looks like a psycho stalker did the deed, but the missing manuscript has an unscrupulous and greedy agent complicating the investigation in order to get his hands on the valuable pages.

Cornwell’s w
A good murder mystery needs three key components: a sympathetic victim, a fast pace, and an intricately woven web of clues for the reader to unravel right along with the book's crime solving entities. Cornwell's Body of Evidence meets these standards. Right out of the gate, she introduces the victim, Beryl Madison, through the woman's own words – sharing with readers letters written by Beryl to the mysterious 'M,' a moniker later revealed to be a red herring. As more characters are introduced, t ...more
Why read: Reading the series.

What impressed me: Body of Evidence was definitely a topsy-turvy mystery. Not only do you not know what's going on with the victims, you really don't have nay clue who to trust in the investigation either. Kay's not knowing friend from foe in her personal life adds a lot of tension and intrigue to the story. And either Cornwell does much better in this second book with laying off the excessive explanations, or I'm just getting used to her writing style.

What disappoin
Shellys♥ Journal
I really enjoyed this mystery. Kay Scarpetta is such an empathetic character, yet tough and willing to take risks. Cornwell weaves a web that is almost impossible to untangle until she takes it down piece by piece. I thought I had the whole thing figured out in the 2nd chapter. I love how she fits all the details together and keeps the reader guessing the whole way. Again, I don't mind the datedness of these books. I find it refreshing that characters have to depend on old fashioned methods of d ...more
A solid murder mystery that, thankfully, does not rely too much on the forensic science element to further the plot. Cornwell is a terrific writer, and I enjoy her Kay Scarpetta character more than most detectives from other series. The book is fun and light, never disappointing but never reaching the upper echelons of great storytelling, either. Great for a long airplane ride, but not a book you're likely to remember well a couple years after you read it.
I read Patricia cornwell's novel " Book of the dead " two years back and I still can remember the craze it became for me that weekend to finish it and reach the end. After months ( probably the 2nd or 3rd time this year ) , i felt the same obsession in me.

The book follows the life of a writer Beryl who for some reasons writes under different names for each of her book and was on a run days before she is killed in her own home. The book engages you from the beginning with the letters she writes t
C.C. Thomas
This was so so different from the first one! I expected the same basic plot, as is the case with most mystery series, and I would have been fine with that because I loved the first one. But Cornwell really threw me for a surprise in this second installment. For a woman (Kay Scarpetta) who is so obviously a control freak, she is really pushing her own comfort boundary to solve this case as a DE of Virginia.

Scarpetta is called in to investigate the death of a young novelist. As she begins on what
Roderick Hart
A major problem for Ms Cornwell is often to figure out how the perpetrator does things, for example, gaining access to premises where the potential victims are already on their guard. This problem is solved very cleverly in this book, and the narrative and forensics are as well thought out as usual.

For all that, it is not so involving as the first book in the Scarpetta series. For me the reason lies in the relationships between the characters being less intense and also less credible. I felt thi
Robin Donovan
Cornwell's stories are interesting. She obviously knows her forensics and related protocols. Her character, Kay Scarpetta is the holier than though, smarter than though, success in the family - and yet her focus is on her lacking areas. She's a renowned doctor and an attorney - yet she invariably finds her position in jeopardy because of the perfect work she does. Some of her books are wonderful - and some go too far with the ghoulish details. Kay is likable - but sometimes her superiority is of ...more
3.5 stars.
I really liked this book, enjoying it more than the first in the series. The mystery was intriguing and the way it all unfolded was well-paced. I did find the revelation of who the killer was a little unsatisfying, although it did make for an intense horror movie-worthy moment.
I think as I continue this series I'm going to have to suspend my disbelief more and more - twice in two books Scarpetta has gotten so involved with a case that (view spoiler)
As good as the first novel, but with a twist that at times almost had me lost! Think this could have been a very confusing read had I not been continuously reading - definitely not a book to read slowly. That being said, the drama built up around Kay Scarpetta in this novel did make for a much more compulsive read than the first, meaning that it was difficult to put down. I think I preferred this story more than the first.

I was a bit disappointed to find that a lot of the characters mentioned i
This book was just as suspense-packed as the first. I think I even enjoyed it a bit more than Postmortem! There wasn't as much of the detailed methods or terminology of the forensic pathologist. I also thought the ending of this one came together a tad more satisfactorily than the first.

Once again, Kay finds herself in the midst of a murder, though this one adds up to multiple murders, it appears to be a crime of passion, not serial. While trying to do her job, Kay finds herself drawn in again i
LA Carlson
Nov 18, 2012 LA Carlson rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: crime novel junkies
Shelves: fiction
This book is much more detailed than Postmortem. It goes into greater detail with secondary characters. The core of the emerging Scarpetta series is Dr. Scarpetta-forensic pathologist, Pete Marino-Detective, Benton Wesley-Profiler, Lucy-Scarpetta's niece. The main victim in this book is a writer. There's a romantic relationship for Scarpetta, some interesting references to same sex relationships as if Cornwell is laying the foundation for something to come. I enjoyed the story and in her usual f ...more
It had been a while since I read Post Mortem but the characters still felt like friends. Marino had grown on me quite a bit in the course of PM but in Body of Evidence I did find it quite hard to like him at times. His grammar is so rough and his views quite black and white but I do think this is supposed to be a part of his charm. You know where you are with Marino. I loved Body of Evidence it was gripping and had a great plot and good pace. Plenty of heart stopping moments which had me on the ...more
Feb 23, 2007 smalls rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery lovers
I like this series of Dr. Scarpetta. This one was not as edge of your seat as Post Mortem, but it was a good mystery. I kept saying, he is the culprit, and then I would change my mind as they introduced new characters. It was fun. I released it at the pool of the resort I was staying at, and it got caught before I got to journal. That was exciting! I hope they enjoy it too! Hawaii is a great place to catch up on some reading while you are at the pool or the beach! First time there, and I loved i ...more
Frank Taranto
Kay Scarpetta is an interesting character and I really enjoy Pete Marino as the policeman. This is the second of quite a few Scarpetta novels and the writing is still not at Cornwell's top level.
A perfect sick day read. Blazed through it, enjoyed it for what it was and had to chuckle about the conversation Beth C and I had about posting (not posting) our guilty pleasure books!
Andreia Silva
Depois da leitura deste segundo volume da série policial com a médica legista Kay Scarpetta, já assimilei a fórmula Cornwell. Pode ser por este ser apenas o segundo volume, mas não me parece que a autora irá fugir do seu estilo de policial nos próximos enredos, mas cá estarei para o confirmar.

Patricia Cornwell, em "Corpo de Delito", mostra-nos que os crimes, a maioria das vezes estão ligados entre teias intrincadas de vários acontecimentos em efeito dominó. Tudo começa com o assassínio de uma es
Timothy Darling
My second time through this book I liked it better. It has been nearly five years since I read it so I was not completely expecting every twist, especially the one involving Mark, so it was like reading it for the first time again. Kay Scarpetta is, of course, the chief medical examiner for Virginia. As such she carries some weight, but seems a little weak as a character. I liked her relationship with Moreno but the DA and some of her office cohorts could have been more fully developed. I liked ...more
emily c.
I think it is not as good as other Scarpetta novels. The plot is somewhat loose and compressed only at the end. There is not much thrill reading this one, less gore, too much drama and quite uninteresting characters, especially the killer. A schizophrenic killer, with childhood troubles is frankly common. Though most murderers are loose in the head, writers of this genre must make the person interesting and amuse the readers on the workings of a criminally insane mind as Cornwell has done in her ...more
1 1/2 stars.

While the writing in Cornwell's second Scarpetta story was quite a bit better than her first one, the story itself was tepid and lacking. And while she managed to reign in her desire to show off about how much she knows, Cornwell still had to throw in little tid-bits of arcana (such as what Scarpetta uses to clean her gun) that add nothing to the story. This book was too much about chasing false leads and Kay's tangled relationship with an old love. And why, after two brutal murders,
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Women's Myste...: #2 Body of Evidence 9 34 Feb 02, 2013 02:08AM  
  • Grave Secrets (Temperance Brennan, #5)
  • Over the Edge (Alex Delaware, #3)
  • B is for Burglar  (Kinsey Millhone, #2)
  • Cry Wolf (Doucet, #3)
  • Mind Prey (Lucas Davenport, #7)
  • The Apprentice (Rizzoli & Isles, #2)
  • Jack & Jill (Alex Cross, #3)
Patricia Cornwell sold her first novel, Postmortem, in 1990 while working as a computer analyst at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, Virginia. Postmortem, was the first bona fide forensic thriller. It paved the way for an explosion of entertainment featuring in all things forensic across film, television and literature.

Postmortem would go on to win the Edgar, Creasey, Anthony,
More about Patricia Cornwell...

Other Books in the Series

Kay Scarpetta (1 - 10 of 23 books)
  • Postmortem (Kay Scarpetta, #1)
  • All That Remains (Kay Scarpetta, #3)
  • Cruel & Unusual (Kay Scarpetta, #4)
  • The Body Farm (Kay Scarpetta, #5)
  • From Potter's Field (Kay Scarpetta, #6)
  • Cause of Death (Kay Scarpetta, #7)
  • Unnatural Exposure (Kay Scarpetta, #8)
  • Point of Origin (Kay Scarpetta, #9)
  • Black Notice (Kay Scarpetta, #10)
  • The Last Precinct (Kay Scarpetta, #11)
Postmortem (Kay Scarpetta, #1) Cruel & Unusual (Kay Scarpetta, #4) The Body Farm (Kay Scarpetta, #5) Point of Origin (Kay Scarpetta, #9) All That Remains (Kay Scarpetta, #3)

Share This Book

“Has all the trappings of a mystery novel, doesn't it?” 10 likes
“I didn't know what I wanted. Maybe I never had. The emotional distance was never worth the togetherness, and yet I didn't learn. Nothing had changed. Had he reached for me, I would have forgotten to behave sensibly. Desire has no reason, and the need for intimacy had never stopped. I had not conjured up the images in years, his lips on mine, his hands, the urgency of our hunger. Now I was tormented by the memories.” 3 likes
More quotes…