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The second book in the Kay Scarpetta series, from No. 1 bestselling author Patricia Cornwell.
'America's most chilling writer of crime fiction' The Times
A reclusive writer is dead. And her final manuscript has disappeared . . .
Someone is stalking Beryl Madison. Someone who spies on her and makes threatening, obscene phone-calls. Terrified, Beryl flees to Key West - but eventually she must return to her Richmond home. The very night she arrives, Beryl inexplicably invites her killer in . . .
Thus begins for Dr Kay Scarpetta the investigation of a crime that is as convoluted as it is bizarre. Why would Beryl open the door to someone who brutally slashed and then nearly decapitated her? Did she know her killer? Adding to the intrigue is Beryl's enigmatic relationship with a prize-winning author and the disappearance of her own manuscript. As Scarpetta retraces Beryl's footsteps, an investigation that begins in the laboratory with microscopes and lasers leads her deep into a nightmare that soon becomes her own.
Praise for the groundbreaking series:
'One of the best crime writers writing today' Guardian
'Devilishly clever' Sunday Times
'The top gun in this field' Daily Telegraph
'Forget the pretenders. Cornwell reigns' Mirror
'The Agatha Christie of the DNA age' Express
Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the spunky and thoughtful chief medical examiner introduced in Cornwell's first novel, Postmortem , makes her second commanding appearance here. Beryl Madison, a writer of historical romances, is grotesquely slashed to death in her Richmond, Va., home after returning from Key West, where she had fled, terrified by threats to her life. Why Madison let the killer into her home is Scarpetta's first question; pursuing its answer involves her in the murder of another writer, reclusive Cary Harper, who was Madison's jealous mentor; the suicide of Harper's sister; the FBI investigation of Madison's crooked lawyer; and, along with bewildering threats to her own life, plenty of complex, satisfying forensic sleuthing. Finding clues under a microscope, in the records of a psychiatric hospital, at a Key West restaurant and in a terrorist skyjacking, Scarpetta follows a trail of evidence--clues that would lead nowhere without her intelligence, compassion and imagination--to a powerful conclusion. Cornwell handles her heroine's interactions with the local police and a former lover with authority to equal her technological expertise. Mystery Guild main selection; Literary Guild alternate.