Port Mortuary by Patricia Cornwell
(G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2010, 496 pages)
Port Mortuary by Patricia Cornwell is the latest addition to the Scarpetta series. Kay Scarpetta is a fictional Chief Medical Examiner who first appeared in the novel, Postmortem, in 1990. Scarpetta and her forensic medicine predate the popular television series, CSI, which made its debut in 2000. In Port Mortuary, an apparently dead man is taken to Kay Scarpetta’s Cambridge Forensic Center in Massachusetts. When the body is removed from the cooler the next morning, there are signs that the man may have still been alive when he was placed in the cooler. Scarpetta must determine when the man died, how he died, and if foul play was involved.
In Port Mortuary, Patricia Cornwell brings back all the main characters that were introduced in the other 17 Scarpetta novels. As in her other Scarpetta novels, Cornwell supplies many twists and turns, sprinkling in forensic science as the plot unravels. Cornwell’s novels are fast-paced and hold your interest.
Port Mortuary is a well-written and interesting novel, but not for readers with queasy stomachs. If you have not read any of the previous Scarpetta novels, you may want to read some of the earlier books before tackling Port Mortuary to better understand the interaction of the characters. This novel is recommended for anyone interested in forensic science.