Cornwell's Scarpetta returns with HarperCollins for 25th novel

Cornwell's Scarpetta returns with HarperCollins for 25th novel

Patricia Cornwell is bringing back Dr Kay Scarpetta for Autopsy, the 25th book in her bestselling series, for HarperCollins.

HarperCollins acquired world rights and will publish the book in England across the globe, including the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, in autumn 2021. The deal was negotiated by David Highfill, v.p. and executive editor at William Morrow, with Esther Newberg of ICM Partners. Julia Wisdom will publish at HarperFiction in the UK. The novel is the first Scarpetta title since 2016's Chaos (HarperCollins).

In Autopsy, Scarpetta returns to Virginia in a post-pandemic world and must hunt a cunning serial killer terrorizing Scarpetta’s own city while politicians cover up the truth. “Autopsy showcases Cornwell’s trademark graphically realistic crimes and trailblazing forensics harkening back to Cornwell’s groundbreaking debut, Postmortem,” HarperCollins said.

Cornwell commented: "Scarpetta’s back, living in the same world we are, and it’s thrilling and reassuring to see what she does. And I can’t think of a better home for her than HarperCollins."

Julia Wisdom, publisher at HarperCollins UK, said: “The return of Scarpetta is a truly exciting moment, and we are immensely proud to be her publishers. I’ve been a life-long fan, and regard Postmortem as a ground-breaking debut that established an entire genre. No one can weave together high tension, true fear and fascinating forensic detail quite like Patricia Cornwell. The new novel, Autopsy, promises to deliver on all fronts and is a mouth-watering prospect. I can’t wait to read it and spend more time with Scarpetta.”

Cornwell's novels have been translated into 36 languages in more than 120 countries, and won numerous awards including the Edgar, the Creasey, the Anthony, the Macavity, the Gold Dagger, the Galaxy Award and the Prix du Roman d’Aventure. Through Nielsen BookScan she has sold 9.3 million print books in the UK for £62.6m since 1998, excluding lockdown-era sales. Her bestseller is Predator (Sphere), on 446,596 copies in paperback.

Highfill added: “Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta is among the most charismatic and unforgettable characters in all of crime fiction – up there with Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander, Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch – and it’s a huge thrill to work with Patricia and bring the landmark 25th in the series to readers everywhere. Autopsy is going to take us back to what Scarpetta does best. No one has the passion for justice and the steel-trap mind for solving the seemingly impossible that she does. I think this is going to be her best novel yet.”