Sweaty Spice, the other Spice Girl

Every once in a while, someone follows you on Twitter that you wonder what the heck were they thinking. Sure, I have had Minnie Driver like a few of my responses to her posts (swoon). But a couple of weeks ago, I was there, minding my own business, when I got a notification from Twitter that none other than THE Patricia Cornwell had followed me.

I have been a fan of her works for a long time (dating from the mid 1990’s) and have read most of her books.

My Fascination with True Crime

When I was in grade school, I went through a phase of reading true crime books from the school library. I am not sure why I picked up that habit, but I did, and I couldn’t get enough of it. The books described some of the most gruesome crimes, some of the most horrible things that people do to each other, and how they were discovered and caught.

I am sure my fascination with this horrified people, but for a few year I couldn’t get enough.

To this day, I enjoy bingeing on shows like “The New Detectives”, “FBI Files”, and my favorite, “The Forensic Files”, as well as fictional shows like Vera, Line of Duty, New Tricks, Shetland, and even (earlier seasons of) N.C.I.S…

The connection to Cornwell the Author

Sometime in the mid 1990’s I was beginning to travel for work. A lot. And during this time, I read a lot of books in many genres, even beyond my earlier passion of SciFi.

One of the authors I discovered was Patricia Cornwell. Her books tell the tale of a woman Medical Examiner in Richmond Virginia, Kay Scarpetta. The tales are well written, true page turners, and, what I enjoy the most is that Cornwell takes the time to explain the technology around the various forensic techniques employed.


The tales begin in 1990, before the modern era of DNA, and many other techniques that are common today.

While I studied physics, and I “get” the technical underpinnings of the various analytical methods, but I appreciate the way Ms. Cornwell explains to the reader. It is never condescending or pedantic. Clear, concise, and accurate.

I read virtually every novel in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, part of my reading repertoire while I was on the road, eventually drifting away when my travel schedule began to attenuate.

Fanboy-ness

While I had followed Patricia Cornwell for some time, and I enjoy her posts, once she followed me back, I felt compelled to go back and re-read the novels.

I picked up a copy of where it all began, 1990’s “Post Mortem”, and while I know I have read it, it has been long enough that I didn’t remember the plot, and the twists. It was like reading it from the first time.

Picking it up reintroduced me to Kay Scarpetta, the detective Pete Marino (a classic stereotypical policeman), and Benton Wesley, the FBI profiler who is called in to assist with investigations.

Heavy smoking, lots of scotch, and a riveting story all combine to make a gripping must-read tale.

I am two novels in, and looking forward to #3.

All because I got a follow from an author who I love to read.

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