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Disappointingly Good

Hunting through the library the other day, my eye was caught by a Patricia Cornwell novel, All That Remains, that boasted the cover blurb “Cornwell still does it better than anyone else” (Daily Mail). I used to eagerly seek out her books about Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta but found that the series became increasingly overblown as she tried to up the ante. The pursuit of justice, peppered with some science, was left behind and when I decided that Scarpetta had jumped the shark, I started to ignore the rows of Cornwell novels.

Was it possible that she was back on form? It was a free library, a small book and the back cover synoposis and first couple of pages seemed promising so I took a punt and have to say that I’ve been enjoying it. The cast of leading characters was familiar but seemed to have settled down into a more comfortable maturity – Scapetta’s sidekick, Marino, was even described as beginning to look old – and I pressed on as the mystery unravelled.

However, a few things were nagging away at my mind. How comes niece Lucy was still at school? I thought she’d shaved her head and was jumping out of helicopters as super-spy with a sideline in computer genius? My memory may be fuzzy on that point but I got another jolt when I questioned why Kay Scarpetta would be using a pay phone when lost in the countryside rather than at least trying her cell phone. Detective neurons kicked in and I checked the inside cover where I discovered that the book was originally published in 1992; I was reading the 2014 reprint of the 2010 reissue. D’oh!

On the positive side, I haven’t read this one before and it’s good. I might even be tempted to check out one of the more recent books in the series. It is just a shame that it is probably a buried treasure rather than a whole fresh seam of gold to mine.

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