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Patricia Cornwell's office

Patricia Cornwell’s office — A look at the workspace of the popular author

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Patricia Cornwell — the author of the best-selling Kay Scarpetta mystery series — opens the doors to her ”office-slash-rare book library” in her home outside Boston. The downside to owning a bevy of antiques? There are ”600-year-old dust mites in there,” she says.

Cornwell dubs it ”Scarpetta’s office,” but it’s filled with artifacts the author rounded up while researching her 2002 nonfiction book on Jack the Ripper, Portrait of a Killer. She keeps a bound copy of original London Times papers from 1888; a collection of antique weapons; and a painting by German-born artist Walter Sickert, who Cornwell theorizes was the real culprit. Cornwell owns some even older relics: Her office is lined with medical, forensic, scientific, and criminal-justice books dating back to the 16th century. Not everything, however, is timeworn. She’s currently writing her 17th Kay Scarpetta novel, due in late 2009.