Post Mortem Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Post Mortem

Dr. Scarpetta is looking into the deaths of four young women who all seem to be killed the same way- she suspects a serial killer and the whole town is in fear. The killer has a similar pattern- he looks for women who live alone, always climbing through a window, raping the victim before he brutally kills her. He has no known pattern in choosing his/her victims. But one small detail in the latest murder of a surgeon triggers the solution to the case. But, this is not before she herself is attacked by the killer. There are other subplots including her niece's visit, her romance involving the DA and the politics involved with being chief medical examiner.
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The review of this Book prepared by Evert Borgia

Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta is embroiled in a series of murders that have terrorized Richmond, Virginia. The female victims are seemingly chosen at random, they had no relationship with eachother prior to death. Using her skill in forensic pathology, Scarpetta must help find the killer before he strikes again, and he will. All the while she must ward off threats of deception from inside her own office.
The review of this Book prepared by LaPierre

Post Mortem was the first crime novel I read and I've been hooked on Patrica Cornwell ever since. It introduced me to the genre and have enjoyed many more since. I don't think Cornwell has topped Post Mortem for plot, intrigue and forensics, but once you start reading her Scarpetta novels, you're an addict and you'll hang out for the next novel.
The review of this Book prepared by Donna Maroz

this was the first cornwell book i read. i came to respect Kay Scarpetta as a professional and a woman. we get to be involved in her work as chief medical examiner, and learn much about this side of police work etc. I was "hooked"
The review of this Book prepared by Carolyn Brown

Chapter Analysis of Post Mortem

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 60%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Difficult, but some clues given Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) Medical Thriller    -   Yes Medical Plotlets:    -   bad docs cutting corners What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   50% Special suspect?    -   chronically deranged person Murder of certain profession?    -   businessmen Misc. Murder Plotlets    -   character killed during/after sexing    -   Big focus on forensic evidence    -   Big focus on autopsies Kind of investigator    -   police procedural, American Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   feelings towards family/friends Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   doctor Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast    -   Mid-Atlantic states Small town?    -   Yes Small town people:    -   nice, like Andy/Opie/Aunt Bee Misc setting    -   scientific labs

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   very gorey descriptions deaths/dead bodies A lot of techno jargon?    -   Yes Kind of jargon?    -   biology/medical Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Patricia Cornwell Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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