Researcher and Writer in Washington, DC

Patricia Cornwell, From Potter’s Field (NY: Berkley Books, 1995)

Cornwell’s first five books were:

  1. Postmortem (1990)
  2. Body of Evidence (1991)
  3. All That Remains (1992)
  4. Cruel and Unusual (1993) and
  5. The Body Farm (1994)

From Potter’s Field (1995) was her sixth.  I have read Postmorten and The Body Farm, and both are quite good.

From Potter’s Field is pretty good for about 300 pages, and then falls apart.  It feels as if Cornwell dashed it off in a rush, and it is loaded with absurd plot contrivances all designed to force the story toward a final showdown scene, which, as it happens, is not very suspenseful.

The decision to culminate the story in New York City wroked out poorly; at the time of writing, Cornwell clearly did not know much about the Big Apple.  (For example, the book repeatedly insists that the bad guy could not be nabbed in an apartment or on the streets because he was armed and might shoot other people.  Silly.  If that was the case, then every criminal in America would be advised to get a gun and goto New York City to avoid apprehension.)

Too bad.  I had been told that Cornwell’s novels ‘jumped the shark,’ after a while, and I have to wonder if it happened in Potter’s Field.

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