As the earlier Body of Evidence (1991) presents a series of fractured relationships, The Body Farm presents a series of unrequited loves, continuing Cornwell's hesitant, suspicious portrayals of human interaction. Emily had a crush on a boy from her church, but he plays a cruel adolescent prank by getting her to go somewhere to meet him, then not showing up. Creed Lindsey, the janitor at her school, likewise has a crush on Emily despite their vastly different ages, and he becomes a suspect in her death as he is known to watch her. Lucy, Scarpetta's niece, now 21 and an intern at the FBI Academy while she finishes her undergraduate work at the University of Virginia, enters a lesbian affair with Carrie Grethen, a co-worker. (Cornwell here continues her sensitive treatment of homosexuality begun in Body of Evidence.) But that relationship too is destined for trouble as Carrie uses Lucy to get closer to the FBI computer and implicates the innocent Lucy in a computer raid. Happy romances are very unlikely in Cornwell's work, and in turn the characters seem always alone and vulnerable.
Romantic tension occurs as well among the series' main trio, a daring departure from earlier portrayals in which Scarpetta, Marino, and Wesley interacted as supportive and loyal coworkers. Marino is especially testy around Scarpetta, and Wesley cautions her, "Marino has feelings for you he can't handle, Kay. I think he always has." Scarpetta responds with...
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