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Four women with nothing in common, united only in death. Four brutalized victims of a brilliant monster - a "Mr. Nobody", moving undetected through a paralyzed city, leaving behind a gruesome trail of carnage . . . but few clues. With skilled hands, an unerring eye, and the latest advances in forensic research, an unrelenting female medical examiner - Kay Scarpetta - is determined to unmask a maniac. But someone is trying to sabotage Kay's investigation from the inside. And worse yet, someone wants her dead . . .

342 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 9, 1990

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About the author

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, and Macavity awards as well as the French Prix du Roman d’Aventure prize – the first book ever to claim all these distinctions in a single year. To date, Cornwell’s books have sold some 100 million copies in thirty-six languages in over 120 countries. She’s authored twenty-nine New York Times bestsellers.

Patricia’s novels center primarily on medical examiner Kay Scarpetta along with her tech-savvy niece Lucy and fellow investigator Pete Marino. Celebrating 25 years, these characters have grown into an international phenomenon, winning Cornwell the Sherlock Award for best detective created by an American author, the Gold Dagger Award, the RBA Thriller Award, and the Medal of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters for her contributions to literary and artistic development.

Fox 2000 bought the rights to Kay Scarpetta. Working with producer Liz Friedman, Marvel’s Jessica Jones and fellow Marvel EP and Twilight Saga scribe Melissa Rosenberg to develop the film and find Scarpetta a home on the big screen.

After earning her degree in English from Davidson College in 1979, she began working at the Charlotte Observer.

Cornwell received widespread attention and praise for her series of articles on prostitution and crime in downtown Charlotte. From the Charlotte Observer, Cornwell moved to a job with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Virginia – a post she would later bestow upon the fictional Kay Scarpetta.

When not writing from her Boston home, Patricia tirelessly researches cutting-edge forensic technologies to include in her work. Her interests span outside the literary: Patricia co-founded of the Conservation Scientist Chair at the Harvard University Art Museums. She appears as a forensic consultant on CNN and serves as a member of Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital’s National Council, where she advocates for psychiatric research. She’s helped fund the ICU at Cornell’s Animal Hospital, the scientific study of a Confederate submarine, the archaeological excavation of Jamestown, and a variety of law enforcement charities. Patricia is also committed to
funding scholarships and literacy programs. Her advice to aspiring authors: “Start writing. And don’t take no for an answer.”

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Other areas of expertise & interests
Forensics | Forensic Technologies | Ballistics | Weapons | Explosives | Pathology & Autopsies | Crime | Historical and Unsolved Criminal Cases | Jack The Ripper | Helicopter Piloting | Suba Diving | Archaeological Excavation Experience |

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5 stars
87,430 (36%)
4 stars
88,862 (37%)
3 stars
48,336 (20%)
2 stars
9,273 (3%)
1 star
4,317 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,862 reviews
Profile Image for Karin Slaughter.
Author 109 books65.8k followers
November 15, 2013
This is a really terrific book. I think people forget how things started when they talk about current books by Patricia Cornwell. Back in the beginning, she was doing something no other woman was doing, and she did it really well. So well that she inspired folks like me. I figgered if she could get away with writing the kinds of books I like to read, then I could do it, too. I loves me some Sue Grafton and Sara Paretsky, but they weren't into the hard stuff. Cornwell really forged a new trail.
Profile Image for Luca Ambrosino.
83 reviews13.7k followers
January 18, 2020
English (Postmortem) / Italiano

«It was raining in Richmond on Friday, June 6»

The first case of Kay Scarpetta, the coroner who made the fortune of the American writer Patricia Cornwell, starts in the rain. The population of Richmond is upset about the presence of a serial killer who first rapes his victims, and then he strangles them in their bedrooms. The coroner Scarpetta, who examined the bodies of the killed women, awaits powerless the next victim.

A few weeks ago I picked from my bookshelf an old copy of this novel, that I read in 2000 (I had the reading date on the inside cover). The cover is bright yellow, I remember liking it. Yes, let's read it again. Straightforward narrative, 320 pages of honest and concrete thriller, with a nice suspense. There are no striking twists and turns, but in my opinion the strength of this novel from 1990 is keeping a grip on reality, without flights of fancy that are scarcely digestible if carried out too far to improbable situations. Sometimes the imaginative final revelations typical of modern thrillers badly astonish me. After all... degustibus non est disputandum.

In any case, Patricia Cornwell has the virtue of starting the forensic medicine genre. Great opening narrative.

Vote: 8


«Venerdì 6 giugno a Richmond pioveva»

Inizia sotto la pioggia il primo caso di Kay Scarpetta, il medico legale che ha fatto la fortuna dell'americana Patricia Cornwell. La popolazione di Richmond è sconvolta per la presenza di un killer seriale che dapprima violenta e poi strangola le proprie vittime, all'interno della loro camera da letto. Il medico legale Kay Scarpetta, che ha analizzato i corpi delle donne uccise, attende impotente la prossima vittima.

Qualche settimana fa ho pescato dalla mia libreria una vecchia copia di questo romanzo, che lessi nel 2000 (avevo segnato a matita in seconda di copertina la data in cui lo lessi). La copertina è di un giallo sgargiante, ricordo che mi era piaciuto. Ma si, rileggiamolo. Trama lineare, 320 pagine di thriller onesto, concreto e con buona suspense. Non ci sono colpi di scena eclatanti, ma il punto di forza di questo romanzo datato 1990 secondo me è proprio il suo restare ancorato alla realtà, senza quei voli pindarici che risultano poco digeribili se esasperati a soluzioni improbabili. A volte lo "spiegone" finale che eccede in fantasia tipico dei moderni thriller mi lascia basito. De gustibus.

In ogni caso, la Cornwell ha il pregio di lanciare il filone del giallo medico-forense. Ottimo esordio.

Voto: 8

Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews41 followers
May 25, 2022
Post-Mortem (Kay Scarpetta #1), Patricia Cornwell

The novel opens as Dr. Kay Scarpetta, Chief Medical Examiner for the Commonwealth 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. She meets him at the scene of a woman's gruesome strangling, the latest in a string of unsolved murders in Richmond.

Four women with nothing in common, united only in death. Four brutalized victims of a brilliant monster - a "Mr. Nobody", moving undetected through a paralyzed city, leaving behind a gruesome trail of carnage . . . but few clues. With skilled hands, an unerring eye, and the latest advances in forensic research, an unrelenting female medical examiner - Kay Scarpetta - is determined to unmask a maniac. But someone is trying to sabotage Kay's investigation from the inside. And worse yet, someone wants her dead . . .

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز چهاردهم ماه سپتامبر سال2019میلادی

عنوان: پس از خاموشی؛ نویسنده: پاتریشیا کورن‌ول؛ مترجم: نورا نواپور؛ تهران، نشر خزه‏‫، سال1398؛ در358ص؛ شابک9786229984550؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان ‬ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده20م

داستان «پس از خاموشی»، نخستین رمان بانو «پاتریشیا کورن‌ول» بود و ایشان با آفرینش شخصیت «دکتر کای اسکاپتا» در همین رمان، یکی از شخصیتهای دل انگیز خوانشگران آثار جنایی معمایی را نامدار کردند؛ برای همین «دکتر کای اسکاپتا»، شخصیت کلیدی رمان‌های دیگر ایشان شد

داستان «پس از خاموشی»، درباره ی کشتن یک زن زیبا و جوان است؛ شوهر این زن بازیگر تئاتر است، و این شائبه وجود دارد، که در صحنه زندگی هم نقش یک آدمکش را بازی کرده باشد؛ در روند داستان، خبرنگاری وارد می‌شود، که با برخی مقامات شهر ارتباط داشته، و از جزئیات پرونده ی قتل زن جوان داده هایی به دست آورده است؛ اما کشته‌ شدن خواهر خبرنگار همه معادلات و گمانه‌ زنی‌ها را به هم می‌ریزد؛ در ادامه ی داستان این رمان، قتل زنجیره‌ ای زنان ادامه پیدا کرده، و تلاش‌های پلیس و کارآگاه‌های ویژه، برای پیدا کردن قاتل، به جایی نمی‌رسد؛ اما گره ماجرا از جایی آغاز به بازشدن می‌کند، که شخصیتی به نام «دکتر کای اسکاپتا» وارد می‌شود؛ کسی که نه کارآگاه است نه مرد؛ بلکه یک پزشک قانونی ارشد است...؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 10/04/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 03/03/1401هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Baba.
3,616 reviews984 followers
November 6, 2022
Patricia Cornwell, with this debut novel that went on to become the first in a super best selling series, introduces the reader to Dr. Kay Scarpetta, Chief Medical Examiner for the Commonwealth of Virginia and her Richmond Police Department contact Sergeant Pete Marino, a homicide detective at the Richmond Police Department; and FBI profiler Benton Wesley. They work together on a string of violent unsolved murders. An OK read, and story, where the characters themselves and the way they relate to each other prove a bit more stimulating than the murder case itself. 6 out of 12.

2008 read
Profile Image for Kay ☼.
2,028 reviews763 followers
March 26, 2023
Really enjoyed this first in series! "Postmortem" has a very good mystery and was probably very high-tech at the time (1990) to read a thriller like this with DNA and dial-up computers. Dr. Scarpetta is a chief medical examiner in Virginia. I enjoyed this first-person narrative. I love what she does and how she thinks.

I've given a low rating on one of her books #22, which I read a few years back. The book was given to me by a friend and although I enjoyed most of it, the main villain was a recycled character so I was disappointed and was left very confused. Now, I'm really excited to read more, and knowing that this will become a prime video series will really motivate me to grab the next one. Who's going to be in it?😎🍿
Profile Image for Matt.
3,812 reviews12.8k followers
May 4, 2019
In introducing the reader to Dr. Kay Scarpetta, Cornwell does a masterful job of developing both the character and a back story, while also forging ahead with a novel-based mystery. While the genre is supersaturated with these types of stories nowadays, Cornwell writes in such a way as to rise above the rest (putting aside that the novel came out before the aforementioned overkill). When a string of women are left strangled and murdered, Dr. Scarpett must piece things together and determine whether this is a serial killer or simply horrific coincidences. The latest victim's death points fingers at someone close to her, leaving Scarpetta to use her forensic knowledge to decipher who it might be. Cornwell hints at numerous suspects throughout, leaving the reader to wonder 'whodunit' from beginning to end.

Cornwell uses great research to bring the book to life as well, from detailed forensics, police jargon, and computer-speak. This being before the wonders of GOOGLE, she took a great amount of time to thoroughly present things in a believable way. I cannot attest as to whether it was truthful, but it sounded as such. Anyone (like me) looking for a great series that many people have lauded, should surely begin with this novel and continue on the great journey Cornwell lays out for Dr. Scarpetta.

Kudos, Madam Cornwell, on a highly entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable novel. I look forward to seeing what the rest of the series has to offer.
Profile Image for James.
Author 20 books3,712 followers
April 29, 2023
Patricia Cornwell's Postmortem was my first foray into the forensic science crime novel. While I am fully capable of reading detailed descriptions of gore and autopsies without getting sick, I was a tad worried that it would get too technical where I'd lose some of the understanding of the medical aspects. While it happens on occasion, the editors and author have done a great job at finding the perfect level of language to keep the words flowing properly most of the time.

Scarpetta is a true hero -- someone to admire, someone to fear. She will always solve the case even in the most intricate complex ones out there. The style is strong, the descriptions and setting vivid. You feel like you are in the story along side the protagonist.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
Profile Image for mark monday.
1,676 reviews5,250 followers
December 19, 2018
A Post Mortem Report on Postmortem

Management/Performance: Careful project management led to successful achievement of outcome objectives. Tension was raised; stakes were high; stakeholders and key informants displayed a personal engagement with project that enhanced performance.

Communication: Efficient and professional; dry and often uninteresting. Occasional well-turned and resonant phrases made welcome albeit brief appearances.

Group Dynamics: Principal Investigator was expertly characterized. Supporting characters, less so. Child character annoying; cop character confusingly developed. Villainous functionaries not provided with appropriate villainous attributes other than serving as assessors of PI's activities.
 Assessor's note: Such activities are not actually "villainous" - despite the annoyance and melodrama displayed by PI upon assessment - as they are central to an Assessor's scope of work, for real.
Tools: Forensic tools well-used. Forensic details did not overwhelm project.

Training Needs Identified: Project successfully outlined training needs for crime writers and humanity, e.g. train yourself to not drool over the gory details and don't embrace a pornography of violence because that's not a good look for crime writers and humans. Well done, project leader!

Key Problem Areas: Poorly developed motivation for killer. Killer found almost by accident, which caused snickers and dissatisfaction. Project created boredom and sudden sleep periods; serviceable as an airplane read (although cover should be hidden from fellow passengers' view, to avoid raised eyebrows and prevent feelings of shame).

Overall Project Assessment: Project is best-suited for viewers of CSI, NCIS, Criminal Minds, and the like.
Profile Image for Patricia.
Author 3 books45 followers
December 20, 2008
Mysteries have long been recreational reading for me. About every fourth or fifth book, I read is a mystery sandwiched in between literary best sellers and stellar non-fiction. I've been meaning to get around to Patricia Cornwall and had picked up a few of her books at yard sales, but I was waiting until I found the first book in her Kay Scarpetta series before I dove in. Postmortem won numerous awards when it came out in 1990 including the Edgar and the Anthony awards.

For the first 100 or so pages, I was not overly impressed. As a fan of Kathy Reichs, I felt that Cornwall was not as good but then I realized that Reichs' first book came out 10 years after Cornwall's first Scarpetta book. Put in that historical perspective, I understood that she was the antecedent who set the stage for writers like Reichs. There are other historical aspects of this book that make it fun. For instance there are no cell phones AND the use of the computer was infantile compared to now and Cornwall does a terrific job of employing computers as part of the mystery with a degree of sophistication that was likely unprecedented at the time.

Postmortem is definitely a page turner that kept me up late two nights reading. I'll be reading more of Cornwall in part to see her influence on later mystery writers.
1 review12 followers
April 19, 2013
This was the first Patricia Cornwell novel I read, and I expected it to be good because she's an author you see around a lot. However I was disappointed with this book.

The book felt long. It was extremely detailed when it came to describe the technology used. I skimmed over most of those parts because the technology was extremely dated and it was hard to follow what she was saying. Also it described red-tape procedures in her lab that just put me to sleep.

Suspects were brought up and never really dismissed as suspects; rather, they'd just find a new suspect and forget the one before. It felt like a wild goose chase.

Granted there were moments in the book that had me enraptured, but these were few and far between. I only really remember one of these moments, which was at the very end of the book.

Word to the wise, the ending is not worth the 300+ pages you have to read to get there. The whole book was resolved very quickly with no real connection to the rest of the book. The preceding 300 pages were a waste of Kay Scarpetta's time.
Profile Image for Tea Jovanović.
Author 410 books685 followers
May 6, 2013
Patrišu mi je otkrila krajem 90-ih moja tetka koja živi u Americi i koja je njen vatreni obožavalac... :) Dosta čitalaca je voli ali se to nikad ne bi reklo po prodaji njenih romana... Šteta, moglo bi to i bolje...
Profile Image for Christy.
74 reviews31 followers
June 24, 2009
If you can handle scary, and can look past gory and profane, Patricia Cornwell's novels are AMAZING. Aside from good old J.K. and Harper Lee, Cornwell is my favorite author. I'm convinced that all the CSI-esque shows were spawned from her books, and if you like that kind of thing, you'll LOVE these. Gripping, intense, nightmare-inducing ... plus you might learn some new things.

Start with the older books in the series, her newer works aren't as good.
Profile Image for Constantine.
859 reviews166 followers
April 17, 2020
Rating: Good

Mystery + Thriller

This is a very popular series, the first book in the Kay Scarpetta series and the debut novel for Patricia Cornwell. As the series title has been named the novels are revolving around the Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta who teams up with Sergeant Pete Marino in the Richmond Police Department to solve a murder case. I assume these two will be teaming up in all the other books too.

The plot is entertaining at times and at other times it can become a bit tedious if the reader is not interested in technicalities. One disadvantage of this story is that some parts of it did not hold up well. Getting into details and for several pages to explain what DNA is and how it works might have been a big thing and a new thing when the book was released but it is not anymore. The same things can be said about computers, passwords, and technology. All that is unnecessary today and seem to feel dated.

I liked how the author created the chemistry between Kay and Marino. Their first encounter and how they got to trust each other and work together as a team. I feel that will be the highlight of the other books in the series and something to look forward to. This series is long and still going on! With the 25th book not released yet so it needs some kind of commitment to catch up. The good thing is that in every book there is new mystery or crime to solve so one does not have to read them back to back in fear of forgetting the events in the previous book. I have not decided yet if I want to continue with the series. I might pick up the next book whenever I'm in the mood for it.
Profile Image for Jess☺️.
487 reviews83 followers
November 7, 2020
Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell is the first book I've read by this author and I definitely feel I'm late to this party, it's been along time since I thoroughly enjoyed a crime book like this, I love how it's a 30 year old book and reads like a new one published in the last couple of year's.
It's a great heart in the throat kind of read which starts as a feeling of unease in the pit of your stomach and the whole guessing of whodunit whilst you never quite get it all until the end is just great.
I'm recommending this and looking forward to bk2 📓
Profile Image for Louie the Mustache Matos.
1,005 reviews74 followers
August 22, 2022
Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell is the first Kay Scarpetta novel. Kay Scarpetta is the chief medical examiner (M.E.) for the Commonwealth of Virginia, and in this first book we are introduced to Scarpetta's difficulties of trying to navigate a male-dominated world as a strong female presence. Cornwell masterfully weaves a tale where the lead character, in first-person narrative, communicates the professional façade that she must maintain in the most tumultuous circumstances, being present, sober, and compassionate at the scene of violent death. Scarpetta is humanized through her interactions with her niece, a precocious child, and when she is called to account by her supervisor. At times, the language is intentionally dry, detached, and distant while at others, the language is lyrical, involved, and passionate. I love Cornwell’s way of telling a mystery, and with this novel, I understand why Cornwell has capably carved a significant niche in the genre with Kay Scarpetta.
Profile Image for Edgarr Alien Pooh.
285 reviews185 followers
July 16, 2023
So as is my way with many crime series, I don't read in order - just grab a volume and plunge on in. Patricia Cornwell's Dr. Kay Scarpetta books have been no different. So here I am after reading several novels later in the series, delving back into the first book.

Two things immediately came to my attention. First, it is fantastic to see the characters I know at the beginning of their journies, Kay has not been long in Richmond, Virginia, Lucy is still a young girl and
big-time players in the future, are currently only on the cusp like Benton Wesley.
Secondly, it is just like a time warp. Computers are using diskettes, there is a VCR (google it kids), DNA testing is still in its primary stages, and police procedures that are long gone.

The story is good but not as tight as some of the later books. Having said that, and because of where we were at as crime readers, Cornwell imparts her knowledge of procedures, which can at times be a drag, but it is what it is.

The story is based around a local serial killer and Dr Scarpetta finds herself in the middle of events, struggling in what can only be described as a boys club. After reading later novels this really stands out as a basis for a series, characters are introduced, roles, and Dr Kay Scarpetta's attitudes and private life are laid bare.

Would probably be a 5-star if I had read it on release but with the advantage of hindsight, and having read other volumes, it still slips easily into a 4.

Profile Image for Tracy  .
794 reviews12 followers
December 31, 2021
It's about time I got to 'Postmortem'. What a fantastic and exciting listen. Patricia Cornwell really delivers a smart, thrilling and heart-pounding first book of the Kay Scarpetta series.
I had just checked this out when I saw a show on ID about a serial killer (John Waterman) who dubbed himself "Mr. Nobody." While watching, I was especially fascinated to find out that one of the people investigating - who also loved to read - wanted to see what kinds of books the suspect had on his bookshelf as she was searching his home for evidence. Miraculously, she happened upon 'Postmortem' and rifled through to a random page and was shocked to see that the killer in this book also called himself "Mr. Nobody." After reading just a little, the detectives quickly determined the murderer modeled several of his killings after some of the ones found here. The fact that a work of fiction could play a/any part in determining how this serial killer tortured and murdered his victims was (understandably) unbelievable to the public and caused a national media frenzy at the time. Amazing.
Narrator C.J. Critt does a knock-up job as the only narrator for this amazing storyline. He kept me hyper-focused from start to finish. Looking forward listening to more from him in book #2 - 'Body of Evidence'.
Profile Image for Laure.
134 reviews68 followers
September 19, 2017
To start with, I was annoyed I had to read about another serial killer. However, the book is much more than that. I think this is why it is somewhat better than average. The political intrigue and incertainties as well as the characterisation make up for the cliched 'killer chase'. I can see why it became such a huge series.
Profile Image for S.P. Aruna.
Author 3 books72 followers
June 4, 2019
My first book from this author, and I'm now convinced that Ms Cornwell reigns supreme as a crime fiction writer. I'm hooked! I'll be reading as much as I can of her works.

Her series protagonist, Kay Scarpetta, a forensic pathologist, seems as genuine as they come. The novel's prose is written with a level of sophistication above the norm for the genre, and the technical details are as well researched as the descriptions found in the books by Thomas Harris

Logically enough, I started with the first of the series. The plot is one we've seen over and over, a brutal serial killer, but the way he is caught is a mind-bender that you won't see in any other similar story.

While the involvement of a Chief Medical Examiner in a crime investigation is slightly stretched, it is not totally out of bounds. The author focuses on real world dialogue rather than witty, smart-alec remarks, and this adds an earthy, graphic depth to the story.

If you love mysteries and crime fiction, this author's books are HIGHLY recommended.

Profile Image for Mohamed Dawood.
86 reviews12 followers
September 9, 2022
A Serial Killer is killing women's in Richmond, Virginia, at night and is on loose. Four Victim bodies are examined by Dr. Kay Scarpetta A Chief medical examiner, who founds with latest technology that how the shining residue leads to catching the killer.
Positive thing is that, story had started directly with the fourth victim, just describing only about the past murders. Interesting part is nothing was described about why he become the serial killer, it can be of any reason, author had left the thought's to readers !!
Negative part is even though nothing was mentioned about killers past, but rather they would have explained what is the reason for choosing his 4 victims atleast, why he liked the voice/Accent !!
On the Whole, It is Interesting to read!!!
Profile Image for Marcie.
257 reviews53 followers
January 1, 2009
Recommended by my local librarian friend...she wouldn't let me just checkout "Scarpetta," the latest in this series, no-o-o-o, she makes me start at the very beginning, with this first, published in 1990. Well, and I did have to get up one night and make sure all my doors and windows were locked as I was reading the book at midnight.

And I kept making concessions for the year, like yeah, I bet this DNA stuff was pretty impressive for 1990, and I can kinda understand why she's explaining all this basic PC computer crap...when your story is that tied to technology, of course the effort is going to feel dated at a later time. I worked some time for a computer forensics company, and I kept wondering about the time frame for technology in that field...how easy now to see who accessed what, when, from where, and exactly what they did with it.

The other thing that was dated...thriller story-telling techniques. The main character (Kay Scarpetta, Chief Medical Examiner) often blanks out, absorbed with her own thoughts, and only catches snatches of the conversation directed at her, in snippets. This mimics the brain's stilted way of processing during "shock" or fear. She begins to re-examine everyone around her as the potential serial killer or guilty of other crimes i.e. hacking into her database or leaking sensitive info to the press or planting evidence or framing her as incompetently tainting evidence...

This was about as satisfying as an episode of Law and Order on television. Not amazing. Not terrible.
Profile Image for Geles.
175 reviews31 followers
November 24, 2020
Después de mucho tiempo postergándola, por una u otra razón, por fin me he decidido con la serie protagonizada por la forense Kay Scarpetta.
Post Mortem fue publicada por primera vez en España en 1990, así que no estamos hablando de ninguna novedad, pero sí de un buen libro.
Teniendo en cuenta que fue escrita en los noventa, el enfoque que realiza la autora de la investigación, desde el punto de vista forense, resulta novedoso. Podríamos considerar que Scarpetta es algo así como la precursora de los CSI, sobre todo teniendo en cuenta la evolución que han sufrido las técnicas y los medios informáticos de que disponían.
Es un libro que mantiene la intriga hasta el final y sin grandes descripciones tediosas que te hacen perder el hilo.
Profile Image for Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh.
167 reviews511 followers
December 17, 2012
Warning: Gore Alert.
Kudos for writing the 1st CSI crime thriller – I liked that it’s a bit of a time capsule with electronic memos as opposed to email & DNA in its infancy. Makes it no less relevant nor does it get in the way of a good story. While the 1st half was pretty dull the second is a roller-coaster ride. Kay Scarpetta is edgy and arrogant, love her or hate her she’ll hold your attention. The supporting characters are wonderful, Pete Marino the grubby tough cop who lumps all perps into the category of 'psycho-squirrels’ is perfection; punchy dialog and Pete gets all the best lines. It finishes off with a surprise ending, I sure didn’t see it coming.
As an aside I’ve read a few of this series over the years and out of curiosity decided to read the 1st. No problem reading them out of sequence.

“The dead have never bothered me. It's the living that I fear.”
Profile Image for Robin.
1,729 reviews65 followers
April 15, 2023
Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta investigates a series of murders in the Richmond area. Four women have been viciously murdered. Forensics show that they were killed by the same person. Dr. Scarpetta works with Detective Pete Marino and FBI Special Agent Benton Wesley to catch a serial killer.

This is Patricia Cornwell's debut novel. It's a solid story which is heavy on forensics. I thought the long conversations about blood types and DNA slowed down the story. There wasn't much action until the end when the identity of the killer was uncovered. It's the first book in the Kay Scarpetta series and a must if you wish to read more in the series. My rating: 4 Stars.
Profile Image for Tim Orfanos.
345 reviews36 followers
July 30, 2019
Το πρώτο αμιγώς ιατροδικαστικό αστυνομικό μυθιστόρημα, το οποίο αποτέλεσε στην εποχή του (1990) 'συγγραφικό φαινόμενο' κερδίζοντας, για πρώτη φορά στα χρονικά, πολυάριθμα βραβεία μέσα στην ίδια χρονιά. Aποτέλεσε δε τον 'προάγγελο' πολλών πετυχημένων αστυνομικών τηλεοπτικών σειρών και κινηματογραφικών ταινιών, όπως το 'C.S.I.', 'Cold Case', 'Criminal Minds' κτλ.

Το έναυσμα για τη συγγραφή του ήταν η αύξηση των serial killers στις Η.Π.Α. από τα τέλη της δεκαετίας του '80 και μετά, όπως και οι ιατροδικαστικές γνώσεις της Cornwell λόγω θητείας της σε παρεμφερείς εργασιακές θέσεις. Για όλους αυτούς τους λόγους, ο αναγνώστης έχει την αίσθηση ότι το βιβλίο περιέχει πολλά αυτοβιογραφικά στοιχεία, ακόμα και από την απλή καθημερινότητα της συγγραφέα. Η ιατροδικαστής Κέι Σκαρπέτα θα μπορούσε να είναι η Cornwell, αφού άλλωστε δεν φαίνεται η συγγραφέας να διατηρεί τις 'αποστάσεις' της από την κεντρική ηρωίδα, διχάζοντάς την και αποτολμώντας, σε πολλά σημεία, να την φέρει ακόμα καί αντιμέτωπη με τον εαυτό της.

Το πρώτο μισό του βιβλίου περιέχει πολλές αλλά ενδιαφέρουσες λεπτομέρειες ιατροδικαστικού ενδιαφέροντος, είναι πιο αργό, και ενδιαφέρεται να πληροφορήσει τον αναγνώστη για το πόσο είχε αλλάξει η καθημερινή ζωή, τουλάχιστον, των Αμερικανών πολιτών (κυρίως, των νέων γυναικών) λόγω του φόβου και του κινδύνου που προερχόταν από ανθρώπους της 'διπλανής πόρτας', οι οποίοι, τη νύχτα, 'φορούσαν τη μάσκα του 'θανάτου'.

Το δεύτερο μισό είναι πιο γρήγορο και πιο περιπετειώδες, ωστόσο, προς τη κορύφωση της ιστορίας, η συγγραφέας δίνει την εντύπωση ότι εκβιάζει την διαλεύκανση του μυστηρίου, δίνοντας ένα λιγότερο εντυπωσιακό ρυθμό στη ροή της πλοκής. Με αυτό τον τρόπο, ίσως, προκαλέσει την αίσθηση ότι την ενδιαφέρει περισσότερο το 'ταξίδι' παρά ο 'προορισμός', αφού δείχνει να βιάζεται να ολοκληρώσει την ιστορία.

Οφείλω όμως να τονίσω ότι το βιβλίο αποτελεί 'καινοτομία' στην ιστορία της αστυνομικής λογοτεχνίας, διότι η δομή της ιστορίας και της πλοκής απομακρύνεται από τα κίνητρα και την προσωπικότητα των ηρώων ενός βιβλίου μυστηρίου, και, πλέον, προσανατολίζεται στην εξέταση και τη διασταύρωση στοιχείων όπως είναι το DNA, οι σωματικές εκκρίσεις κτλ.

Ακόμα, κάνει εντύπωση στο μυθιστόρημα και το χάσμα των γενεών στις γνώσεις της τεχνολογίας μεταξύ της Κέι Σκαρπέτα και της ανηψιά της, Λούσυ, όπου η μικρή της 'βάζει τα γυαλιά', όσον αφορά τη χρήση του προσωπικού υπολογιστή, διαλευκάνοντας μια περίπτωση παραβίασης προσωπικών δεδομένων και αρχείων στον Κεντρικό Υπολογιστή του Ιατροδικαστικού Τμήματος.

Βαθμολογία: 4,3/5 ή 8,6/10.

Υ.Γ.: Ακούγεται ότι θα γυριστεί σε ταινία με πρωταγωνίστρια τη Αντζελίνα Τζολί στο ρόλο της Κέι Σκαρπέτα.
Profile Image for Wanda Pedersen.
1,920 reviews386 followers
January 1, 2022
OMG, how long ago did I first read this book? It must be well over 20 years ago, at least. At the time, I found it riveting. I'm less impressed this time around. I think it must have been one of the earliest forensic-based crime novels? Although detectives like Sherlock Holmes were depicted making deductions based on evidence at the crime scene, Cornwell took things a step further by making the medical examiner's office the focus of her fiction.

Kay Scarpetta is an easy main character to identify with. She's a woman in a largely male realm and there is plenty of hostility to deal with. Pete Marino is a jerk, making the reader like Scarpetta more. Never mind that he proves to be damn good at his job. Kay doesn't question herself very much, a pleasant change. Women tend to suffer from imposter syndrome, something that only plagues Kay when she's dealing with her niece, Lucy. Not that I think there is any good way to interact with Lucy as she is depicted. Cornwell makes her wildly precocious, at ten years of age already uber knowledgeable about computers and interested in guns.

Actually, I think it is the state of DNA research and the details of computer technology that make this book feel like a rusty old antique. Written when DNA was an unproven commodity, it was cutting edge. I remember being impressed by its inclusion during my first long ago reading. Now of course we expect DNA to solve investigations as a regular thing. I couldn't help but notice the other changes in tech, too. The computer diskettes, the programming commands, the answering machines, the absence of mobile phones. No one now would be able to avoid their boss's phone calls the way Kay does—the phone in the pocket can't be avoided. What doesn't change is the kids knowing more than the adults about computers!

It was interesting, knowing what future books would bring, to see Cornwell setting up the pattern that would dominate this series. The relationships between Kay, Lucy, Pete, and Benton are all there, starting to unfurl.
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
3,008 reviews377 followers
October 19, 2018
This was a pretty good first book in a series. It definitely had its moments that completely creeped me out and gave me goose bumps and had me looking over my shoulder making sure no one was watching me.
I will definitely be reading more in the series.
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