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Portrait Of A Killer


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* National press ad campaign in The Sun, Mirror, Daily Mail and Express based around 'The World's Greatest Mystery, The World's Greatest Crime Writer' * 6-sheet posters and full run of escalators at Heathrow * Review coverage anticipated across the national press * Submitted for trade promotions * Reading copies available

About the Author

Patricia Cornwell's first novel was published in 1990. Since then she and her creation, Kay Scarpetta, have become household names. She has helped to establish the Virginia Institute of Forensic Science and Medicine and serves as its Chairman of the Board.


Jack the Ripper was renowned artist Walter Sickert (1860-1942) according to Cornwell, in case anyone hasn't yet heard. The evidence Cornwell accumulates toward that conclusion in this brilliant, personal, gripping book is very strong, and will persuade many. In May 2001, Cornwell took a tour of Scotland Yard that interested her in the Ripper case, and in Sickert as a suspect. A look at Sickert's "violent" paintings sealed her interest, and she became determined to apply, for the first time ever, modern investigatory and forensic techniques to the crimes that horrified London more than 100 years ago. The book's narrative is complex, as Cornwell details her emotional involvement in the case; re-creates life in Victorian times, particularly in the late 1880s, and especially the cruel existence of the London poor; offers expertly observed scenarios of how, based on the evidence, the killings occurred and the subsequent investigations were conducted; explains what was found by the team of experts she hired; and gives a psycho-biography of Sickert. The book is filled with newsworthy revelations, including the successful use of DNA analysis to establish a link between an envelope mailed by the Ripper and two envelopes used by Sickert. There are also powerful comparisons made between Sickert's drawing style and that of the Ripper; between words and turns of phrases used by both men; and much other circumstantial evidence. Also newsworthy is Cornwell's conclusion that Sickert continued to kill long after the Ripper supposedly lay down his blade, reaping dozens of victims over his long life. Compassionate, intense, superbly argued, fluidly written and impossible to put down, this is the finest and most important true-crime book to date of the 21st century. Main selection of the BOMC, Literary Guild, Mystery Guild and Doubleday Book Club. (Nov. 11) Forecast: With the Cornwell name plus lots of publicity-including first serial to Vanity Fair-this should achieve numbers nearly as big as the author's #1 bestselling novels. The book is filled with numerous sepia-toned photos, including several horribly gruesome shots of the Ripper's victims that may turn off some browsers, but most who can get past these will be hooked. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

'An excellent criminal case-study and a fine account of Victorian life.' Big Issue 'She has brought so much circumstantial evidence to bear that only a genuine posthumous confession by someone else will now be enough to clear Sickert's name.' Daily Mail 'The resultant book is absorbing ... Cornwell has written a great account of the Ripper era.' Time Out

Cornwell's mission is to prove that artist and iconoclast Walter Sickert was the real Jack the Ripper. Her method is an intriguing though somewhat repetitious circling through Victorian London, where she pulls together circumstantial evidence and coincidences as well as an analysis of his artwork to name him a viable suspect if not the indisputable perpetrator. The portrait of the times and obstacles faced by the authorities is often more intriguing, as the author works through the historical flaws, glitches, mistakes, and limitations of the original investigations. Kate Reading's familiarity with Cornwell's fiction may be jarring for those used to her as the voice of Kay Scarpetta or Pete Marino. Ultimately, Cornwell's expertise as the creator of a modern crime world helps her as a writer more than a "case closer." A popular choice for true crime audiences, historians, and Cornwell fans; Books on Tape's library edition may be a better investment, especially since both publishers use the same reader.-Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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