Postmortem - Macavity Award

Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell
First in the Dr. Kay Scarpetta series

Pages: 342
First Published: 1990
Genre: forensic mystery
Award: Macavity Award, First Novel 1991
Rating: 3.5/5

Reason for Reading: Medical Mystery Challenge. Book Awards Challenge.

Also, all my favourite authors Reichs, Gerritsen, Slaughter, etc have been compared to Cornwell so I thought I ought to go back and read the original author of the forensic mystery.

First sentence:

It was raining in Richmond on Friday, June 6.

Comments: Dr. Kay Scarpetta, Medical Examiner in Richmond, Virginia is working a case concerning a series of women who are brutally raped and strangled. Each case appears to be the work of the same man and a serial killer must be on the loose. Things escalate and danger feels closer to home, making Kay feel as if she can trust no one.

This is a well-paced and well written thriller. I often felt I knew where the story was going only to be surprised as it turned in a different direction. I enjoyed the mystery part of the story but was disappointed with the revelation of the killer.

Also, I read a lot of forensic mysteries and watch all the CSI-type shows on TV so I found the 1990s technology very hard to take seriously. In this book DNA was fairly new, there were big scenes describing high-tech for the layman such as how Kay could connect her modem to the 'server' computer at work, print outs were on perforated green-lined computer paper. All the emphasis on the pre-internet 1990 technology did spoil the effect for me a bit. I think another 20 years are needed to make this read more like an historical mystery, rather than just dated.

I will continue reading the series. I really enjoyed the characters especially Marino the brusque, burly, coarse cop Kay has to work with but does not like. Also Kay herself is a very likable strong, yet feminine female character.