Using the firsthand expertise she has gained through writing the bestselling Dr Kay Scarpetta novels, Patricia Cornwell utilizes the demanding methods of modern forensic investigation to re-examine the evidence in the Jack the Ripper murders. These include state-of-the-art DNA testing on various materials, computer enhancement of watermarks and expert examinations of hand-writing, paper, inks and other relics. She also uses her knowledge of profiling on the possible suspects, as well as consulting experts in the field. On presenting her conclusions to a very senior Metropolitan Police officer she learns that had the investigators of the time been presented with the facts she has unearthed, her suspect would definitely have been arrested and would probably have faced trial. Naming the killer as the artist, Walter Sickert, Cornwell details the reasons and evidence for this conclusion.
Patricia Cornwell's first novel was published in 1990. Since then she and her creation, Kay Scarpetta, have become household names. She has helped to establish the Virginia Institute of Forensic Science and Medicine and serves as its Chairman of the Board.