Patricia Cornwell is an author with credentials.
The creator of the popular Dr. Kay Scarpetta series, Cornwell herself spent six years working in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Virginia. Unlike her medical examiner sleuth, she was a technical writer and computer analyst who had already published a biography of her mentor and worked as a reporter for The Charlotte Observer.
Born in Miami in 1956, Cornwell can claim a long legacy to the profession of writing as she is a descendent of Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Her path to successful novelist was not an easy one, though. Her life has been filled with both struggles and controversies.
She was five when she had her first experience with the legal system testifying against a security guard who molested her. Her father walked out on the family and her mother was eventually hospitalized for depression. She and her siblings ended up in foster homes.
Patricia Cornwell credits Ruth Graham Bell, wife to evangelist Billy Graham, with helping to turn her life around when as a teenager she was anorexic and dealing with depression. It was at Ruth Graham's encouragement that she began to write. However, her first book was one that would cause a rift between her and Ruth Graham as it was a biography of the minister's wife that she objected to, though the two later reconciled.
Her adult life has also been filled with controversial events. In the year after Postmortem hit the bestseller lists, she bought five houses and cars and then spent a wild evening out with Demi Moore which ended with crashing her Mercedes and a drunken driving conviction.
In the early 90s, she had an affair with a married woman. The woman's husband, a former FBI agent, lured his wife to a church and threatened to kill its minister. The husband threatened her and was sentenced to 23 years in jail for attempted murder.
In a return to non-fiction, Patricia Cornwell wrote an investigative book in which she accuses painter Walter Sickert of being Jack the Ripper.
Patricia Cornwell's work has earned numerous awards and she is the only author to receive the Edgar, Creasey, Anthony, Macavity and French Prix du Roman d'Adventure in a single year. She's also received a Sherlock Award for best detective and a Gold Dagger.
Patricia Cornwell Bibliography
|Kay Scarpetta series:||Andy Brazil|
|Body of Evidence||Southern Cross|
|All that Remains||Isle of Dogs|
|Cruel and Unusual|
|The Body Farm||At Risk|
|From Potter's Field||At Risk|
|Cause of Death||The Front|
|Point of Origin||Children's Book|
|Black Notice||Life's Little Fable|
|The Last Precinct|
|Trace||A Time for Remembering (also titled Ruth: A Portrait)|
|Predator||Scarpetta's Winter Table|
|Book of the Dead||Food to Die For: Secrets from Kay Scarpetta's Kitchen|
|Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper - Case Closed|