Kay Scarpetta Series In Order

The “Kay Scarpetta” series, authored by Patricia Cornwell, follows the gripping adventures of Dr. Kay Scarpetta, a forensic pathologist, as she navigates through complex cases filled with intrigue and suspense. With over 25 novels in the series, readers are drawn into Scarpetta’s world, where science meets crime-solving in a thrilling narrative.

In this article, we will discuss the chronological order of the Kay Scarpetta series, allowing readers to dive into the captivating stories in the sequence they were intended, offering a deeper understanding of Scarpetta’s character development and the interconnected nature of the series.

Understanding Kay Scarpetta series

The Kay Scarpetta series is a set of crime novels by Patricia Cornwell, first introduced in 1990 with “Postmortem”. The series follows Dr. Kay Scarpetta, a medical examiner, through her professional and personal life as she solves gruesome murders using forensic science, often alongside technology and her keen intuition.

Here’s a breakdown to help you understand the series better:

Main Character

  • Dr. Kay Scarpetta: The protagonist, initially the Chief Medical Examiner of Virginia, later becomes a private forensic consultant. She’s known for her intelligence, forensic skills, and dedication to solving crimes. Her character evolves throughout the series, reflecting changes in her career, personal life, and the challenges she faces.

Recurring Characters

  • Pete Marino: Initially a detective in the Richmond Police Department, later works closely with Scarpetta. Their relationship is complex, marked by professional respect and personal tensions.
  • Lucy Farinelli: Scarpetta’s niece, a tech genius and an FBI agent in later books. Lucy’s character adds a layer of technology and modern investigative techniques to the series.
  • Benton Wesley: An FBI profiler and Scarpetta’s romantic interest. His relationship with Scarpetta adds depth to her character and introduces psychological aspects of criminal investigation.

Themes and Style

  • Forensic Science: A hallmark of the series, showcasing detailed autopsy procedures, forensic techniques, and the science behind criminal investigations.
  • Technology: The use of cutting-edge technology, especially by Lucy, highlights the role of tech in solving crimes.
  • Character Development: The series delves into the personal lives of its characters, giving readers a look at their struggles, growth, and relationships.
  • Moral and Ethical Questions: The stories often raise questions about justice, the ethics of forensic science, and the impact of crime on victims and those who investigate them.

Impact and Legacy

The Kay Scarpetta series has been pivotal in popularizing forensic crime fiction, influencing other works in the genre, including TV shows like “CSI”. Cornwell’s detailed descriptions of forensic procedures, based on meticulous research and real-world experience, have educated and entertained millions of readers.

Reading the Series

While each book in the series can stand alone with its own story, reading them in order allows for a deeper understanding of character development and overarching narratives. The series reflects advancements in forensic science and changes in the societal landscape over time, making it not just a journey through the characters’ lives but also a reflection of real-world changes in crime solving.

Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta series is a rich blend of suspense, science, and character study, making it a cornerstone of crime fiction.

Complete Kay Scarpetta Series In Order

  • Postmortem (1989)
  • 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)
  • Unnatural Exposure (1997)
  • Point of Origin (1998)
  • Scarpetta’s Winter Table (1998)
  • Black Notice (1999)
  • The Last Precinct (2000)
  • Blow Fly (2001)
  • Trace (2004)
  • Predator (2005)
  • Book of the Dead (2007)
  • Scarpetta (2008)
  • The Scarpetta Factor (2008)
  • Port Mortuary (2010)
  • Red Mist (2011)
  • The Bone Bed (2012)
  • Dust (2013)
  • Flesh and Blood (2014)
  • Depraved Heart (2015)
  • Chaos (2016)
  • Autopsy (2021)
  • Livid (2022)
  • Unnatural Death (2023)
  • Identity Unknown (2024


What is the reading order for the Kay Scarpetta series?

The Kay Scarpetta series should be read in chronological order of publication, starting with “Postmortem” and continuing through the latest release, ensuring you follow the character’s journey seamlessly.

How many books are in the Kay Scarpetta series?

As of now, there are 25 books in the Kay Scarpetta series, written by Patricia Cornwell. The series began in 1990 with “Postmortem” and has continued with new releases over the years.

What genre does the Kay Scarpetta series belong to?

The Kay Scarpetta series falls into the crime fiction and thriller genres. It revolves around Dr. Kay Scarpetta, a forensic pathologist, and her investigations into various complex and intriguing cases.

Are the Kay Scarpetta books standalone or should they be read in order?

While some of the books can be read as standalone stories, it’s recommended to read the series in order to fully appreciate the character development and overarching storylines that unfold throughout the series.


To wrap up, the Kay Scarpetta series is a thrilling journey through forensic science and crime-solving, with Patricia Cornwell’s meticulous storytelling keeping readers hooked. Starting with “Postmortem” and ending with “Autopsy,” the series follows Dr. Kay Scarpetta as she unravels complex cases with her expertise.

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