Cover image for Cause of death
Cause of death
Cornwell, Patricia Daniels.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Prince Frederick, MD : Recorded Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
10 audio discs (11 hr., 30 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
Kay Scarpetta investigates the death of investigative reporter and scuba diver Ted Eddings, whose body was found in the Elizabeth River where he was supposedly investigating Civil War relics. A second murder complicates the situation before the first is solved.
General Note:
Compact disc.

Added Author:

Format :
Audiobook on CD


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
XX(1245334.30) Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks
XX(1245334.29) Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks

On Order



On a quiet day, away from the hustle of Richmond, in a small cottage on the Virginia coast, Dr. Kay Scarpetta receives a disturbing phone call from the Chesapeake police. Thirty feet deep in the murky waters of Virginia's Elizabeth River, a scuba diver's body is discovered near the Inactive Naval Shipyard. As the police begin searching for clues, the wallet of investigative report Ted eddings is found. Unnerved by the possible identity of the victim, Scarpetta orders the crime scene roped off and left alone until she arrives. What was he doing there, searching for Civil War relics as the officer suggested or was there a bigger story? As she rifles through the multitude of clues, a second murder hits much closer to home. This new development puts Scarpetta and her coleagues hot on the trail of a military conspiracy. Filled with lurid details that Cornwell's legions of fans have come to expect, Cause of Death is a breathtaking mystery further enhanced by C. J. Critt's gripping narration.

Author Notes

Patricia Cornwell was born in Miami, Florida on June 9, 1956. When she was nine years old, her mother tried to give her and her two brothers to evangelist Billy Graham and his wife to care for. For a while the children lived with missionaries since their mother was unable to care for them.

After graduating from Davidson College in 1979, she worked for The Charlotte Observer eventually covering the police beat and winning an investigative reporting award from the North Carolina Press Association for a series of articles on prostitution and crime in downtown Charlotte. Her award-winning biography of Ruth Bell Graham, the wife of Billy Graham, A Time for Remembering, was published in 1983. From 1984 to 1990, she worked as a technical writer and a computer analyst at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, Virginia. While working for the medical examiner, she began to write novels. Although the award-winning novel Postmortem was initially rejected by seven different publishers, once it was published in 1990 it became the only novel ever to win the Edgar, Creasey, Anthony, and Macavity awards as well as the French Prix du Roman d'Adventure, in one year.

She is the author of the Kay Scarpetta series, the Andy Brazil series, and the Winston Garano series. She has also written two cookbooks entitled Scarpetta's Winter Table and Food to Die For; a children's book entitled Life's Little Fable; and non-fiction works like Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper - Case Closed.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Her publisher is giving it plenty of prepub hype, but Cornwell's latest crime novel is, frankly, disappointing. Her usually crisp prose and gripping plots have turned mushy, vague, and unsatisfying. In her latest case, the always savvy Dr. Kay Scarpetta investigates the death of a young reporter who has apparently drowned at Virginia's Inactive Navy Shipyard. Scarpetta suspects the death wasn't an accident, and in her effort to get to the bottom of the case, she soon finds herself and her loved ones the targets of violence. The plot quickly turns bizarre and nearly inexplicable: there's a Branch Davidian-like cult with a plan to take over the world, the invasion of a nuclear power plant and the disruption of the entire Virginia power and electric system, a band of violence-prone Middle Eastern terrorists, and--oh, yes--the resurrection of Scarpetta's long-dormant love affair with FBI agent Benton Wesley. The story has Cornwell's trademark emphasis on detailed forensics and the requisite amounts of action and gore, but this time that's about all. Still, Cornwell's multitude of fans will probably forgive her for any weaknesses. When you're as hot as she is at the moment, bestsellerdom is almost an afterthought. Buy plenty--there's certain to be a huge demand. (Reviewed May 15, 1996)0399141464Emily Melton

Publisher's Weekly Review

First, the good news: the omni-competent Kay Scarpetta is back, along with her sidekicks, in a murder mystery that's tighter than her last escapade, From Potter's Field. Chief medical examiner for the state of Virginia and an FBI consultant, Kay finds ample opportunity to demonstrate her skills in the autopsy room and outside it, too: here, she also dives with a Navy SEAL rescue squad and, through her computer-genius niece Lucy, an FBI agent, takes an up-close-and-personal look at a robot operated via virtual reality. But there is bad news: the work lacks the extraordinary, can't-go-to-bed-til-you're-finished suspense of Cornwell's earlier novels, e.g. Cruel and Unusual. The killers here, members of a nihilistic, fascist cult who think their founder akin to God, are identified early on but never developed as characters. Their crimes, while heinous, don't baffle and tease the reader (or Kay) in the manner of the villain Temple Gault, who was dismissed in the last book. While Cornwell's authoritative presentation of forensic sleuthing, FBI procedures and high-tech crime-fighting compensates mightily for the overneat dovetailing of characters' paths and even the implausible role Kay plays in the climax, the hurried, almost slapdash pace of the climactic scenes is disappointing from so accomplished a writer. But even at less than her best, Cornwell remains a master of the genre, instilling in readers an appetite that only she can satisfy. One million first printing; $750,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild, Mystery Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selections. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Any pop culture fan's list of prominent medical examiners has to mention Kay Scarpetta on the same line as Quincy. As the star of Cornwell's numerous best sellers (e.g., The Body Farm, LJ 8/95), Scarpetta now must use her technosavvy investigative skills to combat a vicious supremacist group. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.