Point of Origin

against black background, flames look like a maskPoint of Origin is another of Patricia Cornwell’s complex crime novels solved by a complex crime investigator, Kay Scarpetta, Virginia’s medical examiner.

Point of Origin begins with two seemingly unrelated events. First, a threatening letter from psychopath Carrie Grethen at Ward’s Island, New York City, is delivered to Scarpetta, to remind her that Carrie isn’t finished ruining people’s lives. Second, Scarpetta is called to the scene of a fire in which the home and stables of media mogul Kenneth Sparkes were destroyed while he was away.

Before the fire investigation is a day old, Carrie Grethen escapes from Ward’s Island.

At the fire scene, Scarpetta discovers a corpse in the second-floor bathroom. It’s a woman, throat stabbed or cut, strange bits of what looks almost like neon-pink paper in her hair. Later, Sparkes tells Scarpetta he thinks the corpse is Claire Rawley, a former girlfriend who may have had a key to the house.

Forensic analysis can’t initially explain the amount of fire damage to the property or the corpse.

Scarpetta’s investigation of the cause of death requires her to shop for restaurant-sized pots, a camping supplies, and swimming caps.

Cornwell’s plots are interesting and re-readable, but her characters are recognizably human and unforgettable.

Point of Origin by Patricia Cornwell
G.P. Putnam. ©1998. 356 p.
1998 bestseller #8; my grade: A-

©2020 Linda G. Aragoni

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Linda Aragoni

I make big ideas simple for learners. My program for turning teens and adults into competent writers is just eight sentences, 34 words.

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