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Body of Evidence (Kay Scarpetta, #2)
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Body of Evidence (Kay Scarpetta #2)

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  54,530 Ratings  ·  974 Reviews
After months of menacing phone calls and feeling that her every move is being watched, successful writer Beryl Madison flees Key West when a terrifying message is scratched on her car. But the very night she returns to Richmond, she deactivates her burglar alarm and opens her door to someone who nearly decapitates her. Why did she let him in, wonders Chief Medical Examiner ...more
Paperback, First Pocket Books Edition, 403 pages
Published May 1999 by Pocket Books (first published 1991)
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Edy If it were me, I would read the first novel, but you don't actually have to. Certain characters are the same and the settings are all in Richmond.…moreIf it were me, I would read the first novel, but you don't actually have to. Certain characters are the same and the settings are all in Richmond. It's really a matter of choice. Both are excellent, the second is better than the first!
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Jan 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was such a gruesome kid... in that I loved to read this series. Blood never bothered me, and the more psychopaths you throw at me, the happier of a reader I am. I think I learned some anatomy from this book. :)

The descriptions are vivid, not for the faint-hearted. Hits close to him when it's about a writer being murdered. Almost decapitated.

The MC, Scarpetta, is a challenging character. She's so honest and raw, you have to respect and love her. But she's also got this side of her where I'd be

The first book was good, this one's even better! It amazes me how Patricia Cornwell can make everything look so unclear at first then shows you the big picture when she pieces it all together in the end. This book kept me at the edge of my seat and I have learned to become genuinely interested in every character. Definitely worth reading especially for CSI fans like me!

Quotable Quotes
"Some people simply want company."
"I didn't know what I wanted. Maybe I never had."
"The older I got, the more I w
3 Stars

I don't know whether it's the writing itself or the time when it was written (early 90s), but Kay Scarpetta is one silly broad, who constantly makes choices that had me scratching my head in confusion (and frustration). For a character that is so beloved I can't quite find the appeal (yet). And her detective friend (?), Marino, is wholly unlikable, with his gruff, assholish demeanour, and his constant prejudice slurs and harsh judgements of nearly everyone he comes into contact with who i
Jan 08, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: female-author
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. Really good.
Dec 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
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
aPriL does feral sometimes
Dr. Kay Scarpetta, Virginia Chief Medical Examiner is again in the middle of mysterious murders and personal vendettas!

Lieutenant Pete Marino summons Scarpetta to the house of shy fiction writer and murder victim, Beryl Madison. Blood is everywhere. Knife wounds are like that, especially when deep defense injuries are dripping while the victim is trying to run away down a hallway and up a stairway, down another hall and into her bedroom. Oh well. She didn't suffer much pain after bleeding out fr
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.
Mark Harrison
Decent but pretty routine addition to the series. Two brutal murders linked together, her ex making an unexpected return, a celebrity lawyer out to ruin her and some small red herring to keep you guessing. Started well and then tailed away. Still - love the heroine so will be sticking with the series.

Lackluster, especially after the introduction of Al Hunt (no, not that Al Hunt) and his mentally ill friend Frankie. An utterly tedious denouement, with the reveal of the killer's identity the most soporific moment of the novel. Much dull bloviation about Key West and its gay population. A lost opportunity to make (view spoiler).
“Restraining orders aren’t worth the paper they’re written on,” I retorted, my anger nudging me closer to the limits of self-control. Not a year went by that I didn’t autopsy half a dozen brutalized women whose husbands or boyfriends had been slapped with restraining orders.

Marino snorted. “It’s like in your place, Doc. No such thing as preventive medicine. We’re nothing but a damn cleanup crew. Can’t do a damn thing until after the fact, when there’s hard evidence. Like a dead body.”
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
May 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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
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.

Dec 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
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
Sep 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Lianne - Literary Diversions
3.5 - enjoyed! Review to follow.
Feb 15, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 23, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
A murder of a promising young author opens a chain of events that may threaten Dr Kay Scarpetta herself. Can the police catch the stalker before something horrible happens?

... or something like that. It's my second Scarpetta book and already I can see the common scheme behind the two novels. It starts with homicide, then Scarpetta is attacked by journalists / lawyers / random guys who just want to make a fuss (always because she's a woman on an important position, and she is never helped by anyo
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
Cat Fu (carocat)
Body of Evidence is the second book of Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta series which I'm currently revisiting in order to bring myself up to speed to read the books she's released over the last ten years. Review of Postmortem, book 1 is here.

I am a stickler for doing things in order. I won't watch an episode of a TV show unless I start from the beginning, with new music I'll always go back to the debut album first [usually then followed by a 'best of' if they've been around a while], and with b
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
Scott Brook
Aug 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another solid entry in the Kay Scarpetta series. This one centering around the death of an author and a missing manuscript. More focus is given into the background of Scarpetta and her insecurities. I'm liking the development of these characters, even the unlikable Pete Marino.

I recommend this series for anybody with any interest in medical forensics. Cornwell's writing in this area is very strong without oversimplifying the procedures and terminology. Read this series!!!
Reading this book was a lengthy process for me, slowed down by the start of classes and my original uncertainty of if this book was even worth finishing (to be fair, the only other books I've really read in the last month or so were from the Will Trent series which is probably my all time favorite series). This was my second time giving the book a go and it was highly recommended by my mom, so I refused to give up.

I found the pacing slow in the beginning and I wasn't really invested in the myste
Rishi Prakash
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another lucky catch from a book fair/second hand shop :-)

I had picked it completely for the "thrill" aspect and a fast read...and it turned out exactly the same. The story has a simple backdrop to start with but it slowly turns into a page turner with various layers being added as the plot unfolds.

The author has used the characters real well to build the mystery and the confusion around the story. That is what keeps you tied as it becomes very difficult to predict their behaviour and the inten
Aug 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
I first read this book over 20 years ago as an impressionable first year uni student. It was my first real exposure to murder mystery/crime novels and I was hooked. After book 12 though, life got in the way and the series and I grew apart and I didn't think about Scarpetta for a while. About a year ago, an article on Patricia Cornwell hit my news feed and they were talking about the upcoming release of book 24 and I nearly fell off my chair. BOOK 24? Where have the years gone? I was 12 books beh ...more
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Has anyone read this author? 3 12 Aug 06, 2017 06:06AM  
The Women's Myste...: #2 Body of Evidence 9 40 Feb 02, 2013 02:08AM  
  • Monday Mourning (Temperance Brennan, #7)
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  • The Clinic (Alex Delaware, #11)
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  • The Complete Patricia Cornwell Companion
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 24 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)
“Has all the trappings of a mystery novel, doesn't it?” 11 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.” 5 likes
More quotes…