Scarpetta’s Winter Table (1998)
When Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the intrepid chief medical examiner of Virginia, isn't busy solving crimes, she is concocting delicious dishes in her kitchen. In Scarpetta's Winter Table, Patricia Cornwell takes her readers behind the scenes for intimate glimpses of her three major characters as they come together to celebrate the week between December 26, "the biggest letdown day of the year," and New Year's. On the day after Christmas, Scarpetta make her special pizza pie and Detective Pete Marino creates his "cause-of-death eggnog" (he uses corn liquor), while Lucy Farinelli (a special agent with ATF and Scarpetta's only niece) goes on a long run in the snowy suburbs of Richmond, Virginia. The next day, Scarpetta flies to Miami to spend a few days with her querulous mother and Sindbad, her Siamese cat. In Richmond, Lucy entertains her friends, all from various federal law enforcement agencies; and Marino first apprehends and then befriends Jimmy Simpson, a ten-year-old boy who had been snowballing his house. In the final scene of the novelette, all the characters (including Jimmy's mother, who seems to catch Marino's eye) gather in Scarpetta's warm house on a cold night to enjoy her famous stew. This book--a special "gift" from Cornwell to her readers--is perfect for the Christmas-present buyer, and gives the reader insights into her best-known characters that cannot be found in any other work. It is illustrated with photographs that suggest the locales and activities of her characters, and it includes the ingredients for all the dishes described in the story.