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Read Patricia Cornwell’s Nail-Biting Lesbian Crime Novels

Meet the lesbian crime novelist who inspired CSI.
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Do you ever watch CSI and think, “I wish the show were gayer?”

Do you ever listen to Serial and say, “Cool, but why can’t Adnan be a lesbian?”

If you’re a fan of both queer ladies and crime stories, then you’ll love Patricia Cornwell, who brings the best of both.

Cornwell’s Scarpetta novels follow Dr. Kay Scarpetta, a kickass female agent; Lucy, her sharp-witted queer niece; and Carrie, a villainous mastermind.

Both Lucy and Carrie are lesbians with genius-level IQs and athletic builds. Oh yeah, and they’re FBI agents. You’ll drool over them both.

In each book, travel with the three characters as they solve – and commit – international crimes all over the world. Crack cases with Scarpetta, bust villains with Lucy and stay one step ahead of the police with Carrie.

Cornwell pulls all of these experiences from her own life. She’s a happily married lesbian who moonlighted as a crime reporter for the Charlotte Observer. After falling in love with crime stories, she began working for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, where she spent years poring over murdered dead bodies and piecing together the mysteries that would later appear in her novels.

To say that Cornwell’s novels are popular would be an understatement. The Charlotte Observer is popular. The cool girl in high school is popular. Cornwell’s books are blockbusters. She’s sold more than 100 copies and is widely hailed as the best crime writer in the United States. In fact, forensic crime shows like CSI and NCIS are based on her work.

Cornwell’s story is inspiring because she proves that it’s never too late to do what you love. She didn’t come out of the closet until she was fifty, but now she’s happily married to the love of her life. She didn’t publish her first novel until she was in her late thirties, and her first crime novels were rejected three times before her first one, Portmortem, finally hit the shelves.

Read more about Cornwell’s incredible life (preview: she flies helicopters and fires rifles for “research”) and get hooked on the Scarpetta series here.

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J. Marie graduated from Duke University with a degree in International Relations and dreams of being a creative writer–dreams she’s now realizing as a musical theatre writer in NYC. She’s passionate about global black identities, black representation in media, and leather-bound notebooks. She also loves backpacking through a new country at a moment’s notice, and speaks Spanish, Swahili and Standard Arabic.

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