Book Of The Dead (Kay Scarpetta #15), Patricia Cornwell


Recently, I just read a book entitled ‘Book of the Dead’ by Patricia Cornwell. The synopsis of the story seems interesting and it captures my interest to get this book but unfortunately, the storyline is not as what I expected in the beginning. Maybe it’s more appropriate to say that the way of how the author writes the story is not suitable for me as it is not written in sequence. The storyline does not focus on a specific person but it is more divert to different people at the same time.


The story is about a coroner called Scarpetta who owns a forensic pathology practice which offers expert crime scene investigation and autopsies. She needs to deal and face several brutal and unusual crimes to solve a series of murder cases which are committed by the same killer. The first murder is a young tennis star who found nude and mutilated near Piazza Navona in Rome. The next murder happens to a young boy who has been abused and found dumped in a desolate marsh and also a woman was murdered in her expensive beach home.

Forensic Terms

  • Livor mortis ((Latin: livor—bluish color, mortis—of death) - Settling of the blood in the lower (dependent) portion of the body causing a purplish red discoloration of the skin. When the heart is no longer agitating the blood, heavy red blood cells sink through the serum by action of gravity.
  • Rigor mortis (Latin : rigor, stiffness, mortis – of death.) - Hardening of muscle cells that begins shortly after death and causes board-like stiffness in about 12 hours, lasts about 12 hours and then disappears in about 12 hours.
  • Algor mortis (Latin: algor—coolness; mortis—of death) - The reduction in body temperature following death
  • Larynx - The area of the throat containing the vocal cords and used for breathing, swallowing, and talking. Also called the voice box.
  • Hemorrhage - A heavy release of blood within or from the body
  • Hyoid - A U-shaped bone at the base of the tongue that supports the tongue muscles.
  • Petechiae - Small red spots under the skin caused by a low platelet count.
  • Cyanoacrylate - The class of adhesives that includes superglue, crazy glue and many industrial adhesives.
  • Basalt - A dark, dense volcanic rock difficult to shape.
  • Raman spectroscopy - spectroscopic technique used in condensed matter physics and chemistry to study vibrational, rotational, and other low-frequency modes in a system.
  • Dewey Decimal System - Library classification system to organizes books on library shelves in a specific order so that any books can be easily found and returned to the appropriate place.
  • Exsanguinations - It is most commonly known as "bleeding to death"

Some interesting quotes:-

"I've never understood why you Americans are so loud."
"Because we don’t listen," Scarpetta says. "That’s why we have George Bush."

"What I’m saying is money can’t buy championship titles, and spoiled people usually don’t work as passionately as she did," Scarpetta says.

"Don’t doubt your inner Self [said slowly]. It’s what I tell all my followers. Don’t doubt your what, Karen?"
"Inner Self."
"That’s right. Your inner Self [said very slowly] knows the truth. Your inner Self knows what’s real."

'Crazy people make false confessions all the time.'

More reviews can be found on Goodreads: Book of the Dead.

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