Patricia Cornwell

The Bone Bed

" to entertain those readers that aren’t too bothered not having their crime delivered at a breakneck speed."


Kay Scarpetta has received an e-mail showing the last possible sighting of Emma Schubert, a palaeontologist who has been missing for several months. On the same day a woman's body is discovered weighed down in the bay, the ropes around her body caught up with a large leatherback, a giant turtle. Scarpetta ventures to the bay to rescue the body without causing it any more harm.

On the same day Scarpetta is summoned to court in the case of Channing Lott who is being tried for the murder of his wife, Mildred although there is no body. Scarpetta's crime is for stating in an email that Lott's wife could well turn to soap if left in the water long enough. And now there is a woman found floating not far from Lott's house. Is this new body in the bay Mildred Lott? Could the speculation cause Channing's acquittal? But Kay Scarpetta is to receive a few more unpleasantries before she can close this case.

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Firstly, I would advise not to read the flyleaf of this book. Why? I feel it is slightly misleading and does not encompass the true central part of this novel. Despite the tenuous link with the palaeontologist, this character is mentioned at the beginning and near the end of this book and that is about it. The main thrust of the story is dealing with the body in the bay. However, for me I felt that Cornwell has slowed down time and strings out events at a very leisurely pace. The 'floater' is mentioned on page twenty-eight but Scarpetta doesn't even deal with the body until page one hundred and nine! During that time we have in-depth details on Scarpetta's paranoia about her staff, her relationships with Marino, Benton and Lucy (again) plus a lot of detailed information about procedure, etc. I did get annoyed with the amount of times Cornwell mentioned 'iPad' and wondered if she is sponsored to put in as many Apple products in her novels as possible. Despite these negatives I did persist and I became intrigued by the plot although it didn't quite get my juices flowing as I found I could easily put the book down but I did finish it so it must have caught my attention in some way. 'The Bone Bed' does have flashes of the old Cornwell novels. I remember reading 'Postmortem' in one gulp over twenty years ago and being amazed. It was like looking at a whole new landscape in crime fiction. I wish Cornwell would trim her novels and give them the punch they used to deliver rather than meandering over nearly five hundred pages. That said, this is a competent book and one to entertain those readers that aren't too bothered not having their crime delivered at a breakneck speed.

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