The Body Farm by Patricia Cornwell

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A young girl's murder is a horrifying event that no person wants to endure. Patricia Cornwell's, The Body Farm, describes terrifying events of a FBI medical doctor, who attempts to put the little girl's soul to rest after being kidnapped and murdered. Kay Scarpetta, a medical doctor, is portrayed as a brave, determined, and strong individual as she solves case after case. With a respected reputation, Dr. Scarpetta was sent pictures from the girls autopsy while being assigned to solve the young girl's murder.

In Black Mountain, North Carolina during a fall evening, a fisherman discovered the body of an eleven year old girl known as Emily Steiner, lying naked in the woods near a lake. Emily's mother told the police that she did not see the man who bounded her up before taking her daughter. The police noticed that Emily was sexually assaulted and patches of flesh were missing from her body. Emily had been gagged, bounded with blaze orange duct tape, and shot in the back of the head. The FBI became involved, which in-turn brought Dr. Scarpetta to investigate the crime. Dr. Scarpetta noticed that the body was not decomposed to the amount it should be after being outside for six days. The FBI team and Dr. Scarpetta noticed the crime was similar to an enemy and a well-known criminal, Temple Gault. Gault was popular for committing serious crime as he, “...smiled from Ten Most Wanted lists posted across the land” (3), which made him one of the top suspects. The FBI had trouble finding evidence that would link Gault to the victim. As a result, Dr. Scarpetta started to link other evidence to other suspects.

Dr. Scarpetta did another autopsy on Emily and found a mark on her left buttock that had the shape and design of a quarter. Blue acrylic fibers and pith wood were found on Emily's body, which
would not link Gault to the crime. As suspicion from Gault simmered down, Dr. Scarpetta started
to investigate the Steiner family. She began to ask different individuals in Black Mountain about Emily's mother and family. Dr. Scarpetta's suspicion rose as abnormal events began immediately after questioning about the family.

The Body Farm is a believable mystery that would keep the reader wondering what comes next. Cornwell's descriptions of the events and individuals involved helps increase the suspense of the novel. I recommend this novel to adults and young adults who enjoy murder mysteries.





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