The Body Farm

The Body Farm

A Novel

Book - 1994
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Baker & Taylor
Dr. Kay Scarpetta travels to North Carolina to investigate the murder of an eleven-year-old girl, but the evidence does not add up, and she must conduct a gruesome experiment at a remote research facility to find the answers

Blackwell North Amer
Little Emily Steiner is dead. She left a North Carolina church meeting late one October afternoon and strolled along a lakeside path toward her house two miles away. Who met her on the path? Who followed her home, kidnapped her from her bedroom, and left her body by the lake days later?
It's a puzzling and terrifying crime, reminiscent of the work of serial killer Temple Gault, who has long eluded Dr. Kay Scarpetta and the FBI's Investigative Support Unit in Quantico, Virginia, where Scarpetta consults as a forensic pathologist. At the request of the North Carolina authorities, Scarpetta and her colleagues, Benton Wesley and Pete Marino, fly to the mountains near Asheville to assist. They find a mother in mourning and an investigation in disarray.
It's particularly frustrating to work a homicide after the fact. An inexperienced pathologist missed or misinterpreted some of the evidence, leaving Scarpetta with inconclusive medical and laboratory reports, and photographs that only raise questions. What, for instance, is the strange mark on the child's body that causes Scarpetta to plead with a reluctant judge for an exhumation? What is the meaning of trace evidence from a plant not indigenous to the Carolinas? And where did the killer obtain the unique blaze-orange duct tape, with which he bound Emily and her mother?
Most puzzling of all is the question of when Emily died. She disappeared the night of October 1. Her nude body was found a week later. Scarpetta's obsession with time leads her to The Body Farm, a little-known research facility in Tennessee where, with the help of some grisly experiments, she might discover the answer. It is Scarpetta alone who can interpret the forensic hieroglyphics that eventually reveal a solution to the case as staggering as it is horrifying.
Scarpetta not only must search for a killer, she must endeavor to help her niece Lucy, who is accused of espionage while interning at the FBI's highly classified Engineering and Research Facility in Quantico. And she must reach out to Marino, who retreats deeply into a strange relationship that may wreck his career and ruin his life. Scarpetta, too, is vulnerable, as she opens herself to the first physical and emotional bond she has felt in far too long a time.
This is Scarpetta even more realized and poignant than we've seen her before, tenacious and brilliant, tender and gentle. The Body Farm is a stunning achievement from a bestselling author at the peak of her powers.

& Taylor

Dr. Kay Scarpetta travels to North Carolina to investigate the murder of an eleven-year-old girl, but the evidence does not add up, and she must conduct a gruesome experiment at a remote research facility to find the answers. 500,000 first printing. $200,000 ad/promo.

Publisher: New York : Scribner's, c1994.
ISBN: 9780684195971
Branch Call Number: M COR
Characteristics: 387 p. ; 25 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

May 15, 2018

I didn't like this book as well as I've liked the previous books in the series, by far. I guess my greatest frustration lies with the issues I seem to always have with Marino. How on earth did someone as ignorant as Marino seems to be ever become a detective??? There was so little logic in so much of the book. Scarpetta seemed to be the only one in the book able to figure anything out, which was silly. She is a ME, not a psychic! Ugh. I hope the From Potter's Field is better than this book was!

Nov 21, 2013

Very good example of Cornwell's writing. It's okay, but nothing memorable

May 23, 2013

I love Patricia Cornwell...!! She is a good mystery writer and I love her characters in her Kay Scarpetta series!! Awesome Read!!

Jul 17, 2012

One new case solved, one ongoing case. Suspenseful and unpredictable, the reader is thrown around and become emotionally invested with the characters

Nov 01, 2011

This is the first book of very many of Patricia Cornwells that I have enjoyed. I read it many years ago and it still comes to mind vividly because of the impression it left on me. It was eerily realistic and at the same time shocking. A true page turner!


Add Age Suitability

Aug 22, 2018

Beeloved88 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at OPL

To Top