Ranting over the Scarpetta series’ plotlines

Cruel And Unusual by Patricia CornwellDang, I’m ticked.  I’ve been reading these Scarpetta mysteries by Patricia Cornwell and I’m really ticked about a plotline in the books.

I read the first two books in the series,Post Mortem and Body Of Evidence, and then skipped the third, All That Remains, because they didn’t have a copy at the used bookstore. The fourth, Cruel and Unusual, opens with a murder, but also a reference that Scarpetta’s love, Mark, was killed in a bombing in London.

What?! Clearly I missed something important by skipping the third book. But I kept reading, that one and the next two in the series, The Body Farm and From Potter’s Field, and finally found a copy of the third book, All That Remains. I read the whole book waiting to hear about Mark getting bombed.

Except it isn’t there. He makes some vague appearance and there are some offhand references to him leaving for Denver and them having some sort of break up over it, none of  which I remember from the second novel. But it ends with nothing. I quick, completely glossed over comment about them talking or meeting.

And then the next books opens, and blammo, he’s dead.

And to that I say – BOOOOO! That’s a cheap way to get rid of him!

Did I miss something? Was there some web story that filled in the blanks?  That’s a cheesy, cheap way to off the guy that was supposedly soooo important to the main character.

Now what do I do? I’ve got a few more in the series, but after this I don’t know that I want to read any more. OK, I know, as far as reading in the series I’m already way past this. But I’ve been reading with the anticipation of filling in the gap.  But as I think about it, there are weird plot changes in most of the novels. One introduces characters in the morgue I’ve never heard of who go on to play prominent roles in the story; Kay Scarpetta moves and in one book has a housekeeper; her niece ages a decade;  and Marino ends one novel in the  hospital after getting involved with a murder suspect who poisons him and in the next is involved in a relationship with someone else, no mention of his near death.

And this is from an author who can write a complex and compelling mystery and tie in a dozen or more details and clue and make it all believable. But she kills of the main character’s love with a “Oh yeah, he was killed in a bombing.” Blech.

Rats. I think I’m going to skip Scarpetta for a while until I get over my irritation. Goodbye for now, Kay Scarpetta. I’m off to finish reading about the secret lives of lobster; I left off on the chapter on lobster sex.


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