Cornwell, Patricial: The Body Farm
(researched by Martha Duffey)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
Charles Scribner's Sons/New York, New York/1994
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
The first edition of The Body Farm was published in white cloth.
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
There a
re 200 leaves: (i-x)1-387(388-400). Pages that are numbered(those not enclosed in parentheses)are numbered at the bottom center of the page underneath a line which is about 30 mm in length.
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
no
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
The book has no illustrations aside from the dust jacket,
which was illustrated by Diane Stevenson.
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
The dust jacket has a clean appearance but is not very sophisticated. The text is very attractive and readable. In general, the book appears to have been printed well.
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
The quality
of paper is good and seems to be rather sturdy. The book is only four years old and seems to have retained its original color thus far.
11 Description of binding(s)
A dust jacket covers the book. The book itself is covered in off-white cloth. the spine is covered in navy blue c
loth with orange writing which read, PATRICIA CORNWELL/THE BODY FARM/[Publisher's Insignia]/Scribners. There appears to be no stitching, only glue, holding the book together.
12 Transcription of title page
PATRICIA/CORNWELL/THE/BODY/FARM/A NOVEL/CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS/New York L
ondon Toronto Sydney Tokyo Singapore
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
No manuscripts are available.
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
The text type is serif.
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
The Body Farm has been issued three times by the original publisher. The second edition was released in December, 1994. The second edition is a lar
ge type edition and its binding is library binding, a more sturdy, finished cover. Thus, the book has no dust jacket. It has 403 pages, compared to the first edition's 400. This edition also retails $3.95 higher than the first edition($23.00). The th
ird printing of The Body Farm was released in February, 1996. It is also a large type edition but is bound with trade paper. The cover art of this edition is the same as that of the dust jacket art of the original edition. Its retail price is $18.95.
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
First printing for The Body Farm, published by Scribner, is 500,000.
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
July 1995 Berkley Publishing Group September 1995 Berkley Publishing Group
6 Last date in print?
The Body Farm is currently still in print.
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
Waiting for information from publisher
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
Waiting for information from publisher
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
The following advertisement was found in The New York Times Book Review on September 18, 1994: NOBODY WRITES CRIME FICTION LIKE PATRICIA CORNWELL!/Scarpetta's Back/[Photograph of Cornwell by Eiichiro Sakata, center. Potograph of Book, left]/[Double line]/PATRICIA CORNWELL/[Double line]/THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF CRUEL AND UNUSUAL/[Simon & Schuster
Audio insiginia.]A Main Selection of The Literary Guild [Scribner insignia]
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
A21019980219225350.jpg
11 Other promotion
Patricia Cornwell made an appearance on NBC's Today Show and CBS Morning News in the first week of August, 1995. She launched a publicity tour the week of August 7, 1995.
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
Contemporary Authors enet.gale.com/m/mcp/neta...mcp/db/ca/name-search.html&r=1&f=G> Pg.2: Brilliance Corp. released a sound recording of...The Body Farm [August 1994]. A second sound recording, featuring the voice of Jill Eikenberry, was produced by Simon and Schuster Audio, November 1994.
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
1997 Current Biography Yearbook "Cornwell, Patricia" pg. 119: [The Body Farm] has been translated into 22 languages.
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
N/A
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
Prequels: Postmortem, Scribner(New York City), 1990. Body of Evidence, Scribner, 1991. All That Remains, Scribner, 1992. Cruel and Unusual, Scribner, 1993. Sequels: From Potter's Field, Scribner, 1995. Cause of Death, Putnam(New York City), 1996. Unnatural Exposure, Putnam, 1997.
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
Patricia Cornwell was born June 9, 1956 in Miami, Florida. She is the daughter of Sam Cornwell, an attorney, and Marilyn Zenner Cornwell, a church secretary. Cornwell lived with her parents and two brothers
until her parents separated in 1961. After the separation Patricia, her mother, and her brothers moved to Montreat, North Carolina in 1963. At the age of nine, Patricia's mother became depressed and was unable to care for Patsy and her brothers. She and her brothers were then taken in by their neighbors, Ruth and Billy Graham. Ruth Graham played a crucial role in Patricia's life. She
counseled Cornwell through her bout with anorexia nervosa and bulimia during her years at King College, in Tennessee. Graham then advised Patricia to develop her writing skills, for she had noticed the eloquence of her writing in notes that Patricia had
given her. Patricia then enrolled in Davidson College, in North Carolina, where she improved her writing skills and married one of her professors, Charles Cornwell, on June 14, 1980. Thus, her new life began as a happily married woman who was hired by the Charlotte Observer. She started as a copy assistant for the newspaper's weekly television magazine. Within six months Cornwell was a reporter and was the newspaper's nighttime
police reporter within a year, when she received the Investigative reporting award from the North Carolina Press Association in 1980. The next year Cornwell quit her job to move to Richmond with her husband so that he could attend seminary. Their relationship ended shortly thereafter and Patricia then pursued a different direction in her writing career. At the age of 27, she wrote a biography of her dear friend and surrogate mother, Ruth Bell Graham. The biography, A Time for Remembe
ring, was published in 1983, and received the Gold Medallion Book Award for biography from the Evangelical Christian Publishers association. This did not launch Cornwell's career, though, as was evident on her next three novels, which all failed to be pu
blished. Cornwell then pursued her interest in forensic science by finding a mentor, Marcello Fierro. Fierro introduced her to the morgue and its technological advances, and suggested that Cornwell become a volunteer police man. In addition, Cornwell attend
ed murder trials and pathology classes, and spent weekends riding with homicide detectives. As a result, in 1990, Cornwell launched her career with the first in her series, Postmortem, and continued to produce addicting crime novels focused around forens
ic science. Following in the series are Body of Evidence(1991), All That Remains(1992), Cruel and Unusual(1993), The Body Farm(1994), From Potter's Field(1995), Cause of Death(1996), Hornet's Nest(1997), and Unnatural Exposure(1998). Cornwell now resides in Richmond, Virginia, in a well protected house. She is the focus of much attention, mostly uninvited, and is the victim of stalkings and scandals. She attempts to stay out of the public eye, but her success makes this nearly
impossible. She has won numerous awards for her novels, has been published by Scribner, Putnam and Harper and continues to grow in popularity. Patricia Cornwell's current agent is International Creative Management.
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
"Cornwell's name on the cover of a book virtually guarantees both instant bestseller status and enthusiastic raves from reviewers and readers alike." Most critics portray Cornwell's success with books like The Bo
dy Farm in similar fashion with the preceding statement. Following an apparently disappointing prequel, The Body Farm, was a well received book with additional comments such as, "Cornwell is back at the top of her form," "...consistently compelling," and
, "Emotionally satisfying reading". All reviewers seem to agree that Patricia Cornwell does an excellent job of using specific details and provocative plots. For example, despite the fact that Cornwell never attended medical school, she receives comment
s such as, "Cornwell almost convinces you she's been to medical school," "Cornwell knows her stuff," "...no one can accuse Cornwell of skimping on illustrative detail," "[Cornwell] provides evocative backgrounds, provocative characters and ghoulish specif
ics." She appears to have even improved her writing style in The Body Farm, for many sources remarked that the book has a deeper plot than her first four novels in this series, "...densely plotted, diverting and makes the most of its inspiriting impossib
ilities." Another source applauds Cornwell on her "deeper characterizations." It is this ability and dedication she invests in The Body Farm which attracts large audiences. The Body Farm initially appears to be quite a gruesome novel. It describes in
detail the murder and mutilation of an 11 year old girl and the autoerotic asphyxiation of an FBI agent. The first incident is noted to be comparable to Silence of the Lambs, another disturbingly gruesome novel. Reviewers called The Body farm, "the gris
liest of the Scarpetta novels," and referred to Cornwell's "grisly expertise." Another source concludes that, "Cornwell's plot is visceral, graphic and frightening..." In addition to her gruesome plot, Cornwell works in a strong main character. Some cr
itics attribute this character's strength to Cornwell's own desires to possess certain qualities, she in a sense, acts out through her main character, Kay Scarpetta. One critic remarks that, "Cornwell is airing some of her own feelings about the difficul
ties of being a strong woman in a man's world." Cornwell accomplishes this self-therapy by portraying Scarpetta as an extremely strong, intelligent woman. Other sources see Scarpetta as, "...a fast hand with pantyhose," "...the one voice of reason in a
story fraught with bizarre unreason," "...a brilliant, feminist...,"and a woman who, "...does it all with considerable suavity and skill." This aspect of The Body Farm seems to be continuous with Cornwell's other novels and of great importance to the ser
ies. One new development in Patricia Cornwell's Scarpetta series is the characterization of Lucy, Kay Scarpetta's niece. In previous books Lucy has been a computer-obsessed child, but suddenly she has grown up. It is interesting to analyze the various
ways in which reviewers critique Lucy's character. Obviously they are all interested in her lesbianism, but not all are willing to make this evident in their review. Most address the character of Lucy, but not her sexuality which is a seemingly importan
t part of the plot of The Body Farm. Still others claim that Lucy's alcoholic tendencies are a result of her lesbianism. Though each review tackles The Body Farm in a different way, whether it be a plot summary or a personal interpretation of character
development, each concludes that this is a well written story. They also seem to agree that Cornwell has not used unnecessary length or detail in writing her novel and each applauds her ability to attract readers.
REVIEWS: Advance Reviews, Booklist July 1994 Bookworld, The Washington Post September 11, 1994 "Cops with Machisma," Time October 3, 1994 "Death and Its Details," New York Times Book Reviews September 11, 1994 "Female Virtues," Times Literary Supplement October 21, 1994 Book Reviews, Library Journal September 1, 1994 Publishers Weekly July 18, 1994 Books September 1994 Entertainment Weekly September 9, 1994 Kirkus Reviews July 1, 1994 Los Angeles Times Book Review September 11, 1994
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
"Cornwell's name on the cover of a book virtually guarantees both instant bestseller status and enthusiastic raves from reviewers and readers alike." Most critics portray Cornwell's success with books like The Bo
dy Farm in similar fashion with the preceding statement. Following an apparently disappointing prequel, The Body Farm, was a well received book with additional comments such as, "Cornwell is back at the top of her form," "...consistently compelling," and
, "Emotionally satisfying reading". All reviewers seem to agree that Patricia Cornwell does an excellent job of using specific details and provocative plots. For example, despite the fact that Cornwell never attended medical school, she receives comment
s such as, "Cornwell almost convinces you she's been to medical school," "Cornwell knows her stuff," "...no one can accuse Cornwell of skimping on illustrative detail," "[Cornwell] provides evocative backgrounds, provocative characters and ghoulish specif
ics." She appears to have even improved her writing style in The Body Farm, for many sources remarked that the book has a deeper plot than her first four novels in this series, "...densely plotted, diverting and makes the most of its inspiriting impossib
ilities." Another source applauds Cornwell on her "deeper characterizations." It is this ability and dedication she invests in The Body Farm which attracts large audiences. The Body Farm initially appears to be quite a gruesome novel. It describes in
detail the murder and mutilation of an 11 year old girl and the autoerotic asphyxiation of an FBI agent. The first incident is noted to be comparable to Silence of the Lambs, another disturbingly gruesome novel. Reviewers called The Body farm, "the gris
liest of the Scarpetta novels," and referred to Cornwell's "grisly expertise." Another source concludes that, "Cornwell's plot is visceral, graphic and frightening..." In addition to her gruesome plot, Cornwell works in a strong main character. Some cr
itics attribute this character's strength to Cornwell's own desires to possess certain qualities, she in a sense, acts out through her main character, Kay Scarpetta. One critic remarks that, "Cornwell is airing some of her own feelings about the difficul
ties of being a strong woman in a man's world." Cornwell accomplishes this self-therapy by portraying Scarpetta as an extremely strong, intelligent woman. Other sources see Scarpetta as, "...a fast hand with pantyhose," "...the one voice of reason in a
story fraught with bizarre unreason," "...a brilliant, feminist...,"and a woman who, "...does it all with considerable suavity and skill." This aspect of The Body Farm seems to be continuous with Cornwell's other novels and of great importance to the ser
ies. One new development in Patricia Cornwell's Scarpetta series is the characterization of Lucy, Kay Scarpetta's niece. In previous books Lucy has been a computer-obsessed child, but suddenly she has grown up. It is interesting to analyze the various
ways in which reviewers critique Lucy's character. Obviously they are all interested in her lesbianism, but not all are willing to make this evident in their review. Most address the character of Lucy, but not her sexuality which is a seemingly importan
t part of the plot of The Body Farm. Still others claim that Lucy's alcoholic tendencies are a result of her lesbianism. Though each review tackles The Body Farm in a different way, whether it be a plot summary or a personal interpretation of character
development, each concludes that this is a well written story. They also seem to agree that Cornwell has not used unnecessary length or detail in writing her novel and each applauds her ability to attract readers.
REVIEWS: Advance Reviews, Booklist July 1994 Bookworld, The Washington Post September 11, 1994 "Cops with Machisma," Time October 3, 1994 "Death and Its Details," New York Times Book Reviews September 11, 1994 "Female Virtues," Times Literary Supplement October 21, 1994 Book Reviews, Library Journal September 1, 1994 Publishers Weekly July 18, 1994 Books September 1994 Entertainment Weekly September 9, 1994 Kirkus Reviews July 1, 1994 Los Angeles Times Book Review September 11, 1994
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
Patricia Cornwell's novel, The Body Farm, is undoubtedly one of her best and most successful novels. With at least a month on the bestsellers list, The Body Farm remains a favorite among Cornwell's followers. Th
is following is definitely a notable one due to many attributes of her writing. Critics and the public alike praise Cornwell for her use of expertise in her writing field, passion in her writing, and deep and interesting characterizations. These have in
fluenced Cornwell's popularity and have placed her in the public eye, highlighting and causing scandals. Needless to say, Patricia Cornwell's celebrity status has heightened over the past years beginning with the release of The Body Farm.
This escalation is in part due to Cornwell's apparent expertise in her writing field. One reviewer writes, "Cornwell knows her stuff, alveolar spaces but the soul as well, and how to make a story"(Bookworld 8). Thus, critics observe that Cornwell writes
her stories in a detailed manner that obviously enhances the story line. For one who has not even attended medical school, her use of bodily and technical jargon is impressive. She acquired this knowledge by witnessing hundreds of autopsies and then la
nding a job as a computer analyst in which she collected data in the medical examiner's office. She later joined the volunteer police force, monitored murder trials, attended pathology classes, and spent weekends riding with homicide detectives.
This overexposure to a life of lasers, computerized fingerprint analysis, skin-pattern interpretations and time of death investigations has prompted Cornwell to write about what she had grown to know best. In The Body Farm, she writes about the grueling
investigation of an 11 year old girl who appears to have been sexually abused, brutally murdered, and covered in hunter orange duct tape. As an example of Cornwell's acquired expertise, she goes on to discover that the child's mother was the unexpected
killer. How does Scarpetta, the main character of her series, determine this? She notices a strange imprint on the child's left buttock, and studies it further to determine it as evidence of the girl lying on top of a quarter for 6 days. Scarpetta fin
ds this quarter in the mother's bathtub. Yet another example of her expertise at its finest is Scarpetta's investigation of the mysterious blaze orange duct tape. Her description of the tape is amazing,
"This is industrial grade, with a yarn count of sixty-two warp and fifty-six woof, versus your typical economy grade of twenty/ten that you might pick up at Walmart or Safeway for a couple of buck...Also, the sequence the tape was torn from the roll i
s inconsistent...the tape was ready and waiting for him, one piece at a time"(Cornwell 197).

Scarpetta apparently spends days with gas chromatographs, mass spectrometers, differential scanning calorimeters, and other "intimidating instruments." Cornwell's dedication to research and attention to detail are astounding and absolutely a top factor
concerning the popularity of this and her other novels.
Another element that contributes to Patricia Cornwell's increasing popularity is her passion in writing. This passion stems from past events of Cornwell's life that she therapeutically plays out through the plot of her novels. This is not obvious to all
readers, but a careful analysis, along with a brief history, soon reveals how Patricia Cornwell recovers from a troubled past through her writing. At the age of five Patricia was molested by a man she knew near her home in Miami, her brother chased the
man away and he was never charged with the incident. In the same year, her parents divorced and she and her siblings moved with her mother to North Carolina. There, her mother suffered a nervous breakdown, was committed for deep depression, and decided
she could no longer care for her children. The children moved around from family to family, including brief periods with the Reverend Billy Graham and his wife Ruth. Mrs. Cornwell left and returned to treatment several times during Patricia's childhood
. As an adolescent, Cornwell showed a promising future as a local tennis star but then started losing matches and soon battled with anorexia nervosa. She went on to college but dropped out after a short time. She later marries but divorces after realiz
ing the lack of success in she and her husband's relationship.
How do these events elicit novels that double as personal therapy sessions for Cornwell? They control her characterizations and plot. Cornwell's novels are full of men who make mistakes or are weak and hurtful. She is obviously portraying what she know
s of men as a result of two significant early events, her molestation and the divorce of her parents. In The Body Farm, there are four main male characters. The first, Pete Marino, is Scarpetta's partner who is jealous and hostile. He often shows displ
ays of anger and, in this novel, dates a psychopath. Thus, he shows that Cornwell thinks of men as individuals who have uncontrollable tempers and make bad choices when it comes to dealings with women. Scarpetta's lover, Benton Wesley, is an extension o
f the latter point for they are having an adulterous affair. They also have an explosive relationship, yet another unreliable, faulty relationship representative of those Cornwell has had. This relationship is testimony of a true to life affair Cornwell
was having at the time of her writing this novel. The third does not have a large role, but is a significant figure. He is the detective who is first assigned to the young girl's murder, but he is soon murdered and left as though it was the result of a
utoerotic asphyxiation. Instead, he was murdered by the girl's mother, yet another example of man being weaker than woman. The fourth significant man is Senator Lord who is a helpful, fatherly figure. He is the ideal in Scarpetta and Cornwell's life, b
ut is also portrayed as not being around often. Apparently Cornwell does not trust men and portrays them as untrusworthy, disloyal and weak. These qualities either stem from her perceptions of men as a result of her traumatic life or are insults intende
d to gain revenge against those who have hurt her.
This display of aggression and disappointment through her writing makes for undeniably passionate writing. She does not stop with men, though. Cornwell develops unusually deep characterizations of her two main female characters. This development of cha
racter is another attractive quality of her writing. Cornwell's two main characters are simply extensions of herself. Though Patricia Cornwell denies that she models any of her characters, it is difficult to deny that she is the spitting image of her ma
in character, Kay Scarpetta.
"...Both Cornwell and Scarpetta are blond, from Miami, divorced, childless, drive Mercedes-Benzes, like to cook, and live in the same posh neighborhood [in Richmond, Virginia]"(Treen 26).

Moreover, Scarpetta is a strong, intelligent, successful woman. This is most likely the same image Cornwell holds of herself. They are both interested and invest their lives in forensic science. Another striking similarity is the occurrence of similar
affairs in both their lives. Scarpetta, in The Body Farm, has an affair with an FBI agent. One key difference in the two situations, though, ties in Cornwell's similarity to her other main character. Patricia Cornwell, at the same time, has an affair w
ith an FBI agent, but her married lover is another woman. I believe that Cornwell deals with her sexuality through the character of Lucy, Scarpetta's lesbian niece. Lucy's reveals her sexuality through a scandal with a fellow female FBI agent, as is Cor
nwell's as a result of her affair with an FBI agent. Cornwell creates characters who even doubt Scarpetta's sexuality, "...just because you're never with men and probably don't like sex doesn't mean you're a homo...Though I've heard rumors"(Cornwell 343)
. It is difficult to determine whether or not Cornwell is using an element of irony or once again working out her life through her writing. Regardless of the reason, her characters are clearly a continuation of herself and therefore full of life.
These characters are largely why The Body Farm is such a hit and why Cornwell's novels continue to be. Cornwell seems to continue to attract followers who continue to buy The Body Farm, along with the other noivels in the series. Part of this new attrac
tion is that Cornwell is now in the public eye. She is becoming increasingly well known through a series of scandals which have proved to increase the popularity of books like The Body Farm. The first scandal involves her illicit lesbian affair with an
FBI agent. The scandal would most likely have not been a big event had the woman's husband not created an elaborate plan to kill his wife. This exposed Cornwell's alternative sexuality at the same time The Body Farm was released. Another scandal not as
well known is Cornwell's alleged obsession with Jodie Foster. Although this can not be proven, it remains an example of the type of attention Cornwell receives. She is stalked and receives frightening attention also. Despite adverse situations, Cornwe
ll remains a respected author with a respectable following.
According to some reviewers, The Body Farm follows the suit of books like The Silence of the Lambs, another popularly gruesome mystery novel. One writes,
"With [The Body Farm and] The Silence of the Lambs, female detectives who were a far cry from Miss Marple and Jessica Fletcher and an interest in new forensic technologies had just come into vogue"(McElwaine 148).

Both are accounts of strong female investigators tracking down extremely dangerous and perverse killers. The Silence of the Lambs is more suspenseful than The Body Farm, but both appeal to an intelligent approach to crime fighting. The authors of both e
xplain these pursuits in fine detail. In some way, the reader appreciates the authors consideration that complicated matters are not above their heads and enjoy challenging information. The Silence of the Lambs was made into a movie, whereas the body Fa
rm has not been translated into other media. Perhaps the popularity of this movie should be an indication that The Body Farm would also be a successful one.
Readers seem to have taken an increasing interest in books with information in the area of the author's expertise. This phenomenon has been a catchy one in the past and present decade with the popularity of other authors like Tom Clancy and John Grisham.
Patricia Cornwell expertly explores death and her way of doing so is irresistible. This is what she knows and she magically intices her audience to want to know and read more. Her magic lies in the secrets with which she ignites her soul and sets her
pen on fire. She does all of this tastefully, though, and says,
"Some people write horrible, sadistic scenes. Death and pain are not sexy. They leave terrible marks that are ugly and last forever. My stories are filtered through the feelings and sensitivity of an intelligent woman"(McElwaine 148).

One could not say it better. Even the above statement reveals her own pain reflected in her writing. She undeniably feels her work and desires for the reader to as well. The Body Farm certainly, as one critic puts it, is "emotionally satisfying reading
"(Library Journal 213).

You are not logged in. (Sign in)