Body of Evidence Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 56 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Body of Evidence.
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Body of Evidence Summary & Study Guide Description

Body of Evidence Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Related Titles and a Free Quiz on Body of Evidence by Patricia Cornwell.

Body of Evidence is a detective novel in which Dr. Kay Scarpetta and Lt. Pete Marino sift through clues left by two violent murders and two suicides, with Kay almost becoming the fifth death. Instead, Kay kills in self defense and the manuscript she rescues helps bring down a mob lawyer and reunites Kay with her college sweetheart.

Body of Evidence opens in Richmond, VA, where Beryl Madison, a novelist, is found brutally murdered. Dr. Kay Scarpetta has just completed Beryl's autopsy and goes with Lt. Pete Marino to examine the still gory crime scene. Forensics are analyzed thoroughly and a clue found for why Beryl would flee suddenly to Florida, from whence she has just returned: to escape a stalker.

Kay's ex-lover, Mark James, appears, claiming that Beryl had been involved in a legal dispute involving his firm. Clues lead to clues, and Kay follows them doggedly. Meeting Mark in New York leads to greater intrigue and Kay discovering that Mark's cover story is a lie. She is crushed. Mark's erstwhile colleague, Robert Sparacino, drums up trouble for Kay to force her to turn over Beryl's supposedly lost manuscript. Following his own leads, Pete turns up an odd character, Al Hunt, who fits the killer's profile but leads them to other discoveries.

Beryl's estranged mentor, Cary Harper, is found brutally murdered, and his eccentric, bitter sister, Sterling, dies suddenly while Kay is marooned in the house by a snowstorm and dead car. Learning that Sterling has cancer and has remained in touch with Beryl over her brother's objections, Kay traces down additional leads. Al Hunt provides enigmatic clues that are resolved only after Al hangs himself and Kay visits the mental institution in which Al and Frankie once live. Everything points to Frankie as the killer.

When Frankie stalks Kay by phone as he had Beryl—and blows up Pete's car—Kay flees to Key West, FL, where Beryl had fled in identical circumstances. There, Kay manages to obtain Beryl's manuscript and meets up with Mark, who turns out to be an undercover FBI agent working to prove Sparacino is a mobster. Kay flies back to Richmond, refusing to be a victim, and when her lost luggage is delivered by a courier, nearly perishes, but suddenly realizes the ploy and manages to evade and kill Frankie in self defense. After Christmas, Kay will meet Mark in Aspen.

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This section contains 404 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Body of Evidence Study Guide
Body of Evidence from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.