Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “From Potters Field” as Want to Read:
Blank 133x176
From Potters Field
Patricia Cornwell
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

From Potters Field (Kay Scarpetta #6)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  44,870 Ratings  ·  678 Reviews
Christmas has never been a particularly good time for Dr Kay Scarpetta. Although a holiday for most, the festivities always seem to heighten the alienation felt by society's violent fringe; and that usually means more work for Scarpetta, Virginia's Chief Medical Examiner and consulting forensic pathologist for the FBI.

The body was naked, female, and found propped against a
Published 1995 by scribner
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 From Potters Field, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

ah li
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Book Review
3 of 5 stars to From Potter's Field, the sixth in the Kay Scarpetta thriller series, published in 1994 by Patricia Cornwell. After five books, you begin expecting more and more from a series, wanting it to up its game, thrown more mystery and character depth... and you get that in this book; however, you also get a bit of a different perspective this time. A few things about this one:

1. It picks up from a previous book with the same killer who still hadn't been caught. It'd be hel
Dec 13, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Boy! This booked pissed me off!

Normally I would give this book a better review, but no. This book has all the angst and mystery that you expect from a Patricia Cornwell novel. The plot is a continuation of a storyline started in a previous novel, the pursuit of Temple Gault. Gault is just as dark and manipulative as in the other books and you race to the climax of the book to see if he will get away to torment Kay Scarpetta in the next novel, or will this chapter finally reach its conclusion?

Aug 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

30/3 - Like The Body Farm this book's title is false advertising. An even smaller portion of the book was dedicated to what's named in the title - the first victim is originally a Jane Doe and is buried in Potter's Field (her real identity is later discovered and she's moved to a family plot). Thinking about the plot of the book I can't think of an appropriate title off the top of my head, so maybe Cornwell had a similar mental block and at the last minute just pulled the title from an
Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
I've read a lot of Cornwell's books. The one thing that irks me the most about Scarpetta is that she doesn't let people help her when the big baddie is determined to fuck her shit up. They want her to temporarily move to a safe house, and even when she lets people stay over- it's like pulling teeth. They aren't being unreasonable, because Kay, this person wants to target you and they know where you live.

This happens in every single book.

May 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: intoxicating
From Potter's Field is yes another brilliant psychological thriller from Patricia Cornwell. The body of a homeless woman is found propped into a sitting position in the freezing cold. Kay Scarpetta, chief medical examiner of Virginia is called in and immediately recognises the handiwork of Temple Brooks Gault, a serial killer never caught. Except this time, his target is none other than her.

In From Potter's Field, Patricia Cornwell explores the different relationships between the characters as w
Baz M
Aug 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wouldn't rate this at the top of the Scarpetta series but Cornwell is great at what she does and this is no exception.
If you don't know the Scarpetta series and read this on it's own, there are probably a few too many previous references to be comfortable as a standalone novel.

That aside, there is plenty of action and any novel with a wintry setting will always have my heart.

A high 3 stars.
Brigid Keely
"From Potter's Field," by Patricia Cornwell, is the 6th book in the Kay Scarpetta series... a series that is increasingly frustrating for me as a reader.

There are some things that Cornwell does really well, and some things she does poorly. The scene were an out-of-control and panicked Scarpetta tries to regain control and calm by making dinner for everyone despite not having groceries? That's a wonderful scene, emotional and true and very in character. The increasingly dark and gross portrayal
Mar 11, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ugh. Worst series ever. I gave Kay Scarpetta a heroic try, dragging myself through 6 awful books waiting for things to get better, but they never did. At least the boring Temple Gault (horrendous name by the way) is over and done with. I have so many gripes about this series it's hard to know where to begin.

First off, isn't she the medical examiner? Shouldn't she be doing more corpse examining? Why is she always running off somewhere to go investigate? I understand the consultant forensic pathol
Maria João Fernandes
Li os primeiros cinco livros da série "Kay Scarpetta" em Abril de 2012 e depois parei. Na altura entusiasmava-me muito com séries de policiais e queria lê-las assim seguidas, mas acabava por me cansar de ler sempre sobre o mesmo. O que é perfeitamente normal. Hoje em dia gosto de variar nos géneros e autores. Aliás, não lia um policial há algum tempo, por isso decidi continuar esta série moderadamente.

Sinceramente, tantos livros diferentes depois, só tinha uma ideia dos livros anteriores. No ent
Joana Esteves
Foi a minha estreia com esta série e com esta autora e, talvez em parte por minha culpa, soube-me a pouco.

Assumo esta parte de culpa uma vez que li este livro isoladamente mesmo sabendo que é o sexto de uma série, o que pode ter contribuído para nunca me ter conseguido sentir suficientemente envolvida com as personagens e com a própria história (até porque, já depois da leitura, vi em algumas reviews que o caso que aqui se resolve já tinha "aparecido" em alguns dos livros anteriores). No entant
Renee Hayes-Comage
Loved the reading! Watching the tangled web become unwoven!!
The at-least-three novels that were all "about" Temple Gault (birth name, srsly) showed an obvious progression, or is it digression when it gets worse? The problem was less that I have a dozen of those books, it's that the two I bought outside the series are now spoiled to me. I had really liked Hornet's Net and thought it smart and witty and showing a different type of m/f relationship, so I ran to get the follow up - then never read it. NOW I see how Cornwell went from her first novels (which ...more
Viji  (Bookish endeavors)
Dr.Scarpetta keeps on mixing the personal and professional.. there is no way she can stop doing it,isn't it?

This is one of her decent works-neither very good not bad.. there isn't any of the classic detective work,if you are looking for one. Even the killer do not have a well-developed psyche. If a profiler tries to work on Cornwell's killers,he would end up nowhere. Psychology is almost non-existent in this work and so it sort of feels hollow considering we are talking of a serial killer here.
Dec 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Cornwell returns with a captivating novel that seeks to tie together the loose threads from the previous two. With a serial killer still on the loose, Scarpetta becomes his main focus, after being offered up an odd Christmas present. When an unidentified woman is found murdered in Central Park, Scarpetta goes to investigate as part of the FBI consulting team. Trying to piece things together, Scarpetta soon realises that the killer, Temple Gault, is more interested in ensuring that all the killin ...more
Elizabeth Penrose
May 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Dr. Kay Scarpetta is a medical examiner and FBI consultant. For years she has helped the government track the notorious serial killer Temple Gault, whose victims are easily recognized due to his distinct killing patterns. After eluding capture over a long period of time, Gault begins killing again, and Scarpetta and her partner Pete Marino are sent to investigate the body of Gault’s latest victim. The pair meet up with Commander Frances Penn, Chief Benton Wesley, and several other FBI and police ...more
aPriL does feral sometimes
Listen, I'm a fan, right? But, man, that ending sucked! Just saying. What happened? For 400 pages there is an exciting build-up of anxiety and anticipation, and is as if Patricia Cornwell got a phone call from the publisher telling her to send in the manuscript NOW. So she concluded it all in one paragraph. Thud.


Gentle reader, this is the not the book where you want to start reading, if you are interested in the Dr. Kay Scarpetta series. You should start here: Postmortem. Ther
Chinablue_25 West Bostedor
Excellent book. Once again Cornwell has produced a fast paced action packed book. You can just feel the tension. Two books ago Gault (the bad guy) was introduced to the series and finally in this book it comes to a close. The only thing I didn't like was it left you hanging on whether or not Carrie (Gaults accomplice and Scarpettas niece's ex lover) was caught. If she hasn't been then I am quite sure we haven't seen the last of her. Once again Scarpetta is still having her affair with her collea ...more
Sherri F.
4+ stars

#6 in Dr. Kay Scarpetta series AND, more importantly, the last of the little mini-series/trilogy within the series (installments #4, 5 & 6). I really like this series, and was pretty satisfied with the wind up, or what at least seems to be the wind-up of the Temple Gault/Carrie Grethen-related trilogy (but you really never know with them). This was a stronger installment than some others I have read (before & after it in the series) and me tense throughout worried that something
Anne Hawn Smith
I am liking Kay Scarpetta less and less. She seems bossy, intolerant except to her neurotic niece, and anything but a team member. She chooses to ignore some evidence which is painful to the reader. I felt like shouting at her at times. Why is it that so many main characters do so many stupid things in their investigations which land them in grave danger? I realize that the danger is part of the plot, but there are plenty of danger spots in a real investigation without doing something that your ...more
Oct 20, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Good for learning about 'show don't tell' writing, detailed forensic description, slow police work and a jaded, depressed 'other woman' ME's world view. A dud as a crime thriller. Awful, really. Illogical 'genius' serial killer (and family) was a big part of it but Scarpetta & Co. did not fare well either - especially in the climax - what the hell was that?
Jun 04, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one, people who check their brains at the door
Shelves: waste-of-time
Would have given this one 0 or negative stars, I am so done with this series. I had issues with the last book but decided to give this one a try to see if it got better or went somewhat back to the goodness of the previous books, it was worse. None of the characters are likable anymore not a single one, I would have let the bad guy kill them all in a heartbeat by the time I was half way through this book! Again the title was poorly picked and had almost nothing to do with the story except for ma ...more
Heather Hopkins
Perhaps _From Potter's Field_ was not the best Patricia Cornwall book for me to start with. I always hear the hype about the Kay Scarpetta books, but the quality of the writing and the author's knowledge of her subject seems, well, weak. I had always assumed Cornwall was or had been a medical examiner. Halfway through _From Potter's Field_ I found myself looking for her bio and was not at all surprised that she actually had been a crime reporter and worked as tech writer and a computer analyst i ...more
Thom Swennes
Sep 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: To everyone
Story plots are generally constructed by opposites; heroes and villains, the better the one, the more diabolically contrasting the other; in From Potter’s Field by Patricia Cornwell pits Medical Examiner/Forensic Pathologist Kate Scarpetta against the ever illusive and increasingly unpredictable and violent psychopath Temple Brooke Gault. Kate moves north of Virginia to the Big Apple where her arch-enemy has started again. An unknown and naked woman is found murdered in the snows of Central Park ...more
Peggy Barker
Jul 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From Potters Field was the most riveting story I've read so far from the Scarpetta series. Captain Marino was a riot, as usual, and Lucy is growing up whether her Auntie Kay likes it or not. Benton Wesley seems more uptight as the FBI gets closer to capturing Temple Brooks Gault. Since Gault appeared in #4 and wasn't caught in #5, I was more than happy to bid good riddance to that psychopath in #6. Hooray!!!!

Kay is feeling insecure because of Benton's actions and I honestly hope that she lets go
Jul 14, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm probably being generous with a 2-star rating. I didn't think much of this book. A few good scenes, but overall it wasn't very thrilling or suspenseful and the climax was a let down. This is my second Cornwell read, and I didn't particularly like the Scarpetta character in the last one ("The Body Farm") and I really don't like the character now. And I don't like Cornwell's writing--which goes hand in hand with not liking the Scarpetta character since she writes in the first person. There's se ...more
Jul 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once again Kay Scarpetta is matching wits with Gault. This time he makes it more personal as he takes possessions from her and invades her space. Along the way he continues to murder people. Gault is no longer just a killer to Dr. Kay, but someone whom she comes to know better so that she can stop him. The search takes her from South Carolina to New York City and gets her into trouble with one of the armed services. Who prevails? Does he remain alive to appear in another novel? Skillfully writte ...more
May 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Que el personaje creado por Patricia Cornwell sea antipático, egocéntrico y megalómano, no me hecho me resultan hasta simpáticos los delirios de persecución de la Dra Scarpetta. Lo que no soporto es la manera tan previsible en la que se desarrollan sus historias, quedándose simplemente en entretenidas. Pero la lectura de Una Muerte Sin Nombre ha generado el interés que en su momento me produjo Postmorten y Jota De Corazones. Novela adictiva y con un alto nivel de intriga y suspenso. ...more
Jeffrey Bruff
Aug 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm a huge fan of Kate Scarpetta and Patricia Cornwell she doe an excellent job of keeping her character sympathetic and interesting. Which when you write many books about the same person can be a challenge.She also has a way making the villain hateful yet you want to know about him or her.Her heroine appears brilliant but also suffers from the same thing s the rest of us do.All and all another fine read
Edward Beavers
Oct 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The end of a monster

The Kay Scarpetta stories keep giving you a good ride for mystery readers and police procedural readings. The story keeps you riveted to the book and the progress even as you wonder if and how it all will end.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: ISBN problem 3 19 Mar 04, 2015 01:59PM  
The Women's Myste...: #6 From Potters Field 1 4 Aug 09, 2013 10:34PM  
  • Cross Bones (Temperance Brennan, #8)
  • Twisted (Petra Connor, #2)
  • O is for Outlaw (Kinsey Millhone, #15)
  • The Bone Yard (Body Farm, #6)
  • Easy Prey (Lucas Davenport, #11)
  • Blind Alley (Eve Duncan, #5)
  • Serpenti nel Paradiso
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)
  • Body of Evidence (Kay Scarpetta, #2)
  • All That Remains (Kay Scarpetta, #3)
  • Cruel & Unusual (Kay Scarpetta, #4)
  • The Body Farm (Kay Scarpetta, #5)
  • 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)
“The world is full of people who mean no harm and cause a great deal of it.” 8 likes
“Blood squirted as his transected femoral artery haemorrhaged to the rhythm of his horrible heart.
- From Potter's Field”
More quotes…