Murder Is Our Peculiar Pastime: Fifty Notable American Crime Novels: 13-14


Cornwell, Patricia. Post-Mortem. New York: 1990.

An award-winning investigative journalist, Cornwell’s first book was a well-received biography of Ruth Bell Graham, the wife of evangelist Billy Graham, published in the mid-1980s. She subsequently worked as a technical writer and computer analyst with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, Virginia. This experience inspired her creation of fictional medical examiner Kay Scarpetta, the main character in a series of mystery-detective novels that has now extended to almost a dozen and a half titles.

For Post-Mortem, the first novel in the series, Cornwell received an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America, an Anthony Award from the Boucheron/World Mystery Convention, a John Creasey Award from the British Crime Writers Association, a Macavity Award from Mystery Readers International, and French Prix du Roman d’Adventure. The novel establishes Scarpetta’s difficulties in trying to succeed in a traditionally male profession…

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