Cause of Death (novel)

Cause of Death (novel)

Infobox Book |
name = Cause of Death
title_orig =
translator =

image_caption =
author = Patricia Cornwell
illustrator =
cover_artist =
country = United States of America
language = English
series = Kay Scarpetta
genre = Crime fiction
publisher = Sphere
release_date = 1996
media_type = Print (hardcover, paperback)
pages = 370
isbn = 978-0-7515-3050-6
preceded_by = From Potter's Field
followed_by = Unnatural Exposure

"Cause of Death" is a crime fiction novel by Patricia Cornwell and is the seventh book of the author's Dr. Kay Scarpetta series.

Plot summary

New Year's Eve and the final murder scene of Virginia's bloodiest year takes Scarpetta thirty feet below the Elizabeth River's icy surface. Dr. Scarpetta receives a phone call reporting the death of investigative reporter Ted Eddings, who was found dead in diving gear amongst the Navy's mothball fleet. Was Eddings probing the frigid depths of the inactive shipyard for a story, or simply diving for sunken trinkets—and why did Scarpetta receive the phone call reporting the death before the police were notified? The case leads Scarpetta, her niece Lucy, and police captain Pete Marino into a terrorist plot that threatens thousands of lives.

Characters in "Cause of Death"

*"Kay Scarpetta" - Chief Medical Examiner
*"Lucy Farinelli" - "Kay's" niece
*"Pete Marino" - Police Captain in the Richmond Police Department.
*"Benton Wesley" - "Kay's" love interest, despite being married. FBI profiler. He was "the unit chief of the Bureau's Criminal Investigative Analysis program." [Cause of Death, p.67.]
*"Dr. Phillip Mant" - Forensic pathologist and "Kay's" deputy chief for the Tidewater District. [Cause of Death, p.1.]
*"Captain Green" - Naval Investigative Service. Described by "Kay" as "typical of weak people with power or rank. He had done his best to scare me off, and when that had accomplished nothing he had decided we would be friends." [Cause of Death, p.32.]


*"Ted Eddings" - Thirty-two years old, brown hair, blue eyes. [Cause of Death, p.6.] "An award-winning investigative reporter for the Associated Press." [Cause of Death, p.6.] "Kay" referred to him as "never been shy or passive during professional encounters" and finds him "quite confident and charming." [Cause of Death, p.39.] His body was found in the Elizabeth River, tethered to a compressor which pumps surface breathing air down to him. [Cause of Death, p.14.] He was killed by breathing in cyanide gas through the compressor.
*"Danny Webster" - "Dr. Mant's" morgue assistant. He "was in his early twenties and still lived with his family." [Cause of Death, p.33.] "Lithe and graceful, he looked like a young Cherokee with a brilliant grin." [Cause of Death, p.36.] He was found on Libby Hill Park, Richmond, Virginia, in a secluded area called Sugar Bottom, "half on his back, half on his side in an awkward tangle of arms and legs. A large puddle of blood was beneath his head." [Cause of Death, p.166-169.] He was killed by a single gunshot to the head, using a special type of ammunition called a Black Talon. [Cause of Death, p.201.]

Other Deaths

*"Joel Hand" - Leader of the New Zionists. He fell into the water used to cool the nuclear assemblies in the power station. Unable to swim, he swallowed a huge amount of radioactive water, which led to multiple organ failure.

Major themes

* The hunt for a killer


External links

* [ Publication history and critical reaction.]

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