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Cause of Death by Patricia Cornwell


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Through six harrowing, expertly crafted crime novels, Patricia Cornwell has earned an international following of passionate readers who are addicted to her singular blend of spellbinding storytelling, absorbing forensic detail, and characters who grow more complex and interesting with each book. Now Cornwell submerges Dr. Kay Scarpetta in a labyrinthine case that wraps a web of danger around those closest to her and threatens to wreak fear and death far beyond the confines of Virginia.

New Year’s Eve and the final murder scene of Virginia’s bloodiest year since the Civil War takes Scarpetta thirty feet below the Elizabeth River’s icy surface. A scuba diver, Ted Eddings, is dead, an investigative reporter who was a favorite at the Medical Examiner’s Office. Was Eddings probing the frigid depths of the inactive Ship Yard for a story, or simply diving for sunken trinkets? And why did Scarpetta receive a phone call from someone reporting the death before the police were notified?

With the advent of a second murder—this one hitting even closer to home—the Case envelops Scarpetta, her niece Lucy, and police captain Pete Marino in a world where both cutting-edge technology and old-fashioned detective work are critical offensive weapons. Together they follow the trail of death to a well of violence as dark and forbidding as the water that swirled over Ted Eddings.

With Cause of Death, Patricia Cornwell brilliantly delivers the high-tension suspense that has secured her status as the best crime writer of our time.


Patricia Cornwell is the Gold Dagger- and Edgar-winning author whose international bestsellers include From Potter’s Field, The Body Farm, Cruel and Unusual, All That Remains, Body of Evidence, and Postmortem.

Cause of Death by Patricia Cornwell

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Putnam and Sons (1996)




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