Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Bone Bed by Patricia Cornwell

Read while home alone? probably, but it could get a little dicey
Tissues needed? no
Overall rating: 4.5 stars

Medical examiner Kay Scarpetta receives a disturbing message regarding a missing scientist in Canada just before a scheduled court appearance for a case involving the missing/presumed dead wife of a millionaire. Her court appearance, however, is delayed by the discovery of a woman’s body in Boston Harbor. These seemingly diverse cases couldn’t possibly be connected, right? Dr. Scarpetta will have to use all of her resources—and keep her wits about her—to prevent more murders.

I’ve been reading the Scarpetta series for a number of years and generally find that they’re a bit on the graphic side, but also fast-moving and complex. I skip over some of the more technical (and gory!) descriptions. I’m fascinated by the clues Scarpetta gleans during autopsies (like stomach contents—who knew an autopsy could reveal approximately when and what the deceased last ate?!) and it’s fun to try to solve crimes with her. The supporting cast just adds to the intrigue: Marino, her head detective; Benton, her husband who is an FBI profiler; and Lucy, her brilliant niece who is a computer whiz. If you enjoy fast-paced crime/mysteries heavily laced with medical details, the Scarpetta series is perfect for you. Although the stories stand alone, I’d recommend reading them in the order they were written (at least sort of!) to fully appreciate the characters’ relationships.

Do you ever skip parts of books? Do you try to solve mysteries with the characters? Are you successful?


  1. I almost never skip parts of a book and I do enjoy trying to solve the mysteries. I wonder if this would be too gory for me - other than that it sounds like something I would really enjoy

    1. I admire your thoroughness! There are parts in this series that get a bit gory, mostly in a medical-technical kind of way. I really like how the stories develop though, so I just skip over the gore (usually just a paragraph or two at a time) and enjoy the book.

  2. I'm going to recommend this series to my mother-in-law. It's her kind of book. Sometimes if I'm reading a book with pages and pages of description, I find myself skimming a bit to get back to the action.

    1. That makes me think about Maeve Binchy: she writes such complete, beautiful descriptions in her books, but sometimes they're, well, lengthy, so I skip those too.

      And don't tell my mother-in-law, but she may receive a copy of The Girl in the Glass for Christmas.