Read our biography of Patricia Cornwell.


Southern Cross
by Patricia Cornwell

Step into the world of crime in the South in this mystery by Patricia Cornwell. Southern Cross, set in Richmond Virginia, has one foot set firmly in the the beauty and heritage of the ante-bellum South and the other in the murky world of the twin evils of racism and murder in our modern times.

Judy Hammer, former police chief of Charlotte, NC, has taken on a new assignment in Richmond, Virginia. Her task is to clean up the police department and she finds herself in immediate conflict with the Richmond police force, the city manager and the mayor. With allies like this...who needs enemies?

Hammer does have some staunch friends at her side: Deputy Chief, Virginia West and reporter-turned cop, Andy Brazil. She brought West and Brazil with her in the move from Charlotte to Richmond. All three of them will soon find themselves embroiled in a web of intrigue that reeks of corruption, scandals, robbery and murder. Despite the hostile scrutiny of may in power, Hammer, West and Brazil must discover a crucial link between the defacement of a statue of a Confederate hero, Jefferson Davis, and a brutal murder.

Adding a super-sized dose of 'local color' to Southern Cross is another trio that are as quirky as they are cruel. Bubba, Smoke and Weed are three very unusual and unforgettable characters who would almost be comical if they were not so villainous. These characters, in fact, typify a losing balance between going for comedic pratfalls vs. weaving a hard hitting mystery. Unfortunately, Cornwell is attempting to juggle a losing battle in this novel. The book tries at some points to be oh-too-too cute with exaggerated down home Southern dialects that drip with contempt for anyone who chooses to live south of the Mason-Dixon Line. At other times, Cornwell attempts to craft a hard hitting crime drama worthy of her previous mysteries. Unfortunately, she has missed her mark and this book will probably have limited appeal to most mystery fans.

Read our biography of Patricia Cornwell.