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Patricia Cornwell

Patricia Cornwell (born June 9, 1956) is the author of a series of crime novels featuring the fictional heroine Dr. Kay Scarpetta, a medical examiner. She has worked as an investigator in a crime lab, and procedural details are part of the allure of her novels.

She was born Patricia Daniels in Miami, Florida. Her husband is Charles Cornwell. She is a descendant of Harriet Beecher Stowe.

She has been involved in a continuing, self-financed search for evidence to support her theory that painter, Walter Sickert was Jack the Ripper. She published Jack the Ripper:Case Closed in 2002 to much controversy, especially within the British art world, where Sickert's work is admired.

She contends Sickert had the psychological profile of a killer: she asserts that he was unable to have intercourse, and that his penis was disfigured at birth or through some accident. The killings coincide with the marriage of Sickert's close friend, which she claims provided the spark which exacerbated his awareness of his (purported) disabilities and ignited a latent anger. However, there is evidence that Sickert may have been in France at the time of the murders.

In recent speeches, Cornwell claims new evidence has come to light since her book. Paper manufacture experts now assert that reams of paper supposedly used by Jack the Ripper to write several letters to Scotland yard and paper purchased by Sickert's mother bear the same small-press watermark. There are also matches in the cutter's marks, which are a result of the rough cutting of each quire (or small package) for packaging. A 'quire' was usually of 24 sheets.

Cornwell's other evidence cites Sickert's artistic genius, useful in crafting the Ripper's letters, disguising handwriting and varied sketching styles. She also feels that the letters contain specific information related to crimes, and as such are unlikely to be from any other than the Ripper. She also points to Sickert paintings, some of which show women in prostrate poses similar to victims at their crime scenes.


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