In the News: Jamie Lee Curtis’ production banner Comet Pictures and Blumhouse Television are developing a one-hour series based on Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta character, a forensic pathologist at the center of 24 crime thrillers, with Cornwell, Curtis, Jason Blum, Blumhouse Television president Chris McCumber and Jeremy Gold serving as executive producers.
Born Patricia Daniels in Miami, Florida, she moved to North Carolina at age 7 following her parents' divorce. While attending Davidson College, Patricia met English professor Charles Cornwell, who she married and subsequently divorced after 10 years. After graduating with a degree in literature, she worked as a crime-reporter for the Charlotte Observer and spent six years working as a computer analyst for the Virginia Chief Medical Examiner's Office. While there, she witnessed and, at times, assisted in hundreds of autopsies. She also served as a volunteer police officer.
"It is important to me to live in the world I write about. If I want a character to do or know something, I want to do or know the same thing."
Between 1984 and 1986, Cornwell wrote three novels based on her crime desk experience. All were rejected. Disheartened, she wrote to Sara Ann Freed, an editor at Mysterious Press, the one publishing house that had softened its rejection with encouragement. Freed suggested she dump the male detective who had been her central character and expand Scarpetta who had only played a minor role in the early works. So, in 1990 Patricia Cornwell's first novel, Postmortem, was published. Postmortem was the first novel to win the Edgar, Creasy, Anthony and Macavity awards, as well as the French Prix du Roman d'Adventurei, in a single year.¹
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The Kay Scarpetta Novels In Order
1. Postmortem (1990)
In her acclaimed novel At Risk (2006), Patricia Cornwell introduced a new cast of characters, including Win Garano. In 2008, she released a second novel featuring the shrewd Massachusetts state investigator, The Front.
Scarpetta fans, for your convenience, a Printable Scarpetta Series Checklist.