New York Times bestselling novelist Patricia Daniels Cornwell is the
only woman in the United States to receive England's coveted Gold Dagger,
widely considered to be the most prestigious crime-writing award in the world.
A former award-winning police reporter for the Charlotte Observer, Cornwell worked for more than six years as a computer analyst in the chief medical examiner's office in Virginia, where she witnessed hundreds of autopsies and even assisted as a "scribe," recording the measurements of the wounds of murder victims. During that time, she also was a volunteer with the Richmond Police Department, and has spent time with law enforcement around the world.
Those experiences inspired her to create Dr. Kay Scarpetta, a tenacious chief medical examiner who tracks serial killers with the help of a streetwise cop, Pete Marino, and an FBI profiler, Benton Wesley.
Cornwell's first Kay Scarpetta book, Postmortem (1990), is the only novel ever to win the Edgar, Creasey, Anthony and Macavity awards, as well as the French Prix du Roman d'Aventure in a single year. Her subsequent Scarpetta novels, Body of Evidence (1991), All That Remains (1992), Cruel & Unusual (1993), The Body Farm (1994), From Potter's Field (1995), Cause of Death (1996), Unnatural Exposure (1997), Point of Origin (1998), Black Notice (1999) and The Last Precinct, received critical acclaim and became national and international bestsellers. The Last Precinct, was published in 2000 and was a New York Times bestseller, followed by Bow Fly, Trace, Predator, Book of the Dead, Scarpetta, The Scarpetta Factor, Port Mortuary, and Red Mist.
Cornwell is also the author of the bestselling Southern Cross (1999), Hornet's Nest (1997), and Ruth, A Portrait: The Story of Ruth Bell Graham (1997), a biography of Ruth Bell Graham, wife of evangelist Billy Graham. Born in Miami, Florida, Cornwell now divides her time between Richmond, Virginia, and New York. A graduate of Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina, Cornwell has continued her ties with the school through scholarships to assist gifted students who are interested in writing.
In October 2001, G.P. Putnam's Sons published Isle of Dogs, a new novel featuring Andy Brazil, and Food To Die For: Secrets from Kay Scarpetta's Kitchen.
In 2003 Cornwell published a nonfiction book called Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper, Case Closed.
This biography was last updated on 08/16/2011.
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