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Scott Blow Fly

Scott Blow Fly

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Published by Andy Kirkwood

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Published by: Andy Kirkwood on Jun 16, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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I have chosen to review the book “Book of the Dead” by Patricia Cornwell. In doing so I shall critically evaluate the book itself, along with its interpretation of the role portrayed within the book of the ain character, Dr !ay "carpetta, a edical e#ainer who uses forensic science to investigate urders. $s this is the latest in a long series of adventures for Dr "carpetta, the character is well established and even in her earliest dealings, appears that uch of her personal circustances have been previously developed. %he book opens with a lengthy, vivid scene as a young $erican tennis star is brutally tortured by the an holding her hostage. &ur lead, Dr "carpetta, is asked due to her world renown in forensic investigation, to consult with the Italian sei'ilitary Police, the Carabinieri, on the urder. %he urder is coitted in Italy, while "carpetta is based in "outh Carolina where she operates an independent forensic pathology practice. (pon returning hoe to her practice without solving the Italian urder, "carpetta begins to uncover siilarities  between a urdered boy in "outh Carolina and the urdered tennis star. %his sets us the ystery, which unfolds in third person narrative, using dialogue between the ain investigators, e#tensive forensic e#planation and occasional forays into the ind of the killer to deliver the story. %he character of "carpetta is an interesting one and certainly coes across as a coplicated person in that she has a wealth of background and eotional difficulties that she was attepting to work through in her own head whilst progressing through the story within the book. I liked this feature of her character as it certainly ade her ore huan than the leads in any other crie novels that I have read. )hile I had not read any of the earlier books in the "carpetta series of novels, I felt that these huan eleents added to her cople#ity and certainly did not affect y en*oyent of the book, though I do feel rather than continuing with the series, I should go back and read earlier novels. %he fact that the story is told entirely in the third person narrative fro the position of each of the ain characters, as well as countless uniportant additions spread throughout the book, is good in that you are seeing how each part of their investigation unfolds. If one thing akes that clearer than anything else, it+s that uch of the investigation in this tale doesn+t see to attach specifically to our ain protagonist, Dr "carpetta. %he clues were followed up by everyone, not en asse, but individually, and produced an eventual result  brought together by "carpetta as the lead. Probably this would be ore true to life than having one iddle aged woan find all the evidence, track all the leads and eventually trace the killer, but again, would it even be the central characters alone which would chase down thee conclusions. I would not think so when the whole of the Italian Police orce and the -ational orensics $cadey are also investigating the urder of the tennis  player but neither ever develops further than the first chapter.)here the third person narrative is successful in its descriptive roles, it also lets itself down on character developent as it delivers too any characters who are not central to the either urder investigation and for that atter, ean nothing and on occasion, would even repulse the reader. %his is certainly true of her assistant, arino, who is a drunken  bully who it sees has a crush on "carpetta but not the brains to stop hiself fro
wallowing in self pity thinking the world is against hi. %his is fro a an who apparently was a high flying detective who has worked on a*or urder cases alongside Dr "carpetta. &nly briefly does anyone even ention that due to his ost obvious faults should he get the sack, itself oving directly out the lines of reality as, due to the nature of the business Dr "carpetta is involved in, she, and the evidence it ust be said, cannot carry passengers. %he one person that did ention to sack hi is her niece, /ucy, who herself does appear to be a coputer genius, a spy, a detective, a woan+s rights activist, a forensic investigator of renown and general super hero at ties0 I do not know  previous books and the way that this character has evolved but to e, it certainly sees far fetched, thereby weakening the reader+s subersion into the actual story. %he ain drawback of third person narrative is the fact that the criinal in this novel reains very uch on the periphery and there is little or no insight into the otives he has for such heinous cries. &ccasional forays into his psyche do not deliver and it is the narrative of the investigators which develops the criinal+s role. %aking this fro the  point of the forensic investigative side of the book, I feel this benefits "carpetta+s role as a forensic investigator, allowing her to develop her hypothesis without the book returning tie again to the criinal ind who carried out the urder and how it was his developent that led the investigation against hi, rather than the forensic detective work carried out by "carpetta and her assistants. y one other criticis of the book is that soe of the plot is a little weak, soe events are left une#plained, at least not fully and soe of the ways that the plot goes see a little contrived. It does however keep "carpetta central to the plot, pulling her assistants to her in order to develop the story. 1owever, it is understood that this certainly would not be the case given her *ob role as she is independent of the police authorities in whatever location her *ob takes her. Indeed, the point of having Italy+s leading forensic officer,
Captain Poma, a medico legale (???????????) with the
Carabinieri, constantly
 arguing with her about her observations, findings and general
forensic investigative  procedures
throughout the investigation,
whilst at the sae tie attepting to ipress her into bed, do not ring true of a true urder investigation, not with professionals anyway. %o y ind it asks the 2uestion, if Captain Poa was the top forensic investigator in Italy and literally 3what he says goes+, and subse2uently in opposition to Dr "carpetta+s ideas all along, why was she ever involved in the first place, or indeed, stay involved after she had returned to the (nited "tates. %he criinal eleent of the book is as well'researched and tightly plotted but as entioned, the concurrent plot line is a little weak and needed developed ore as soe events are left une#plained. %his ay be due to the fact that the book is part of a series, leaving to the avid reader to understand and new readers only to guess at. (nfortunately, rather than fully e#plaining circustances, uch of the book develops around the interplay of relationships between the investigators not directly involved in the two plots. %his results is a serious lack of focus to the crie and investigations as you have two independent stories being played out which happen to be concurrent, but don+t really interrelate, with the result that it+s hard to follow at ties which piece of evidence relates to what crie. %he author certainly akes you feel that you are in the roo with her as

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