What is a summary of All That Remains by Patricia Cornwell?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

All That Remains is the third book in Patricia Cornwell's series featuring Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta.

Scarpetta is summoned to investigate a missing person's case when the jeep of Deborah Harvey, daughter of National Drug Policy Director Pat Harvey, turns up abandoned. Deborah and her boyfriend Fred Cheney are reported missing by Pat the night they were supposed to be driving from the Harvey family home in Richmond, Virginia, to Spindrift. Incidentally, three other automobiles have been found abandoned and three other couples have been reported missing and found murdered.

Scarpetta goes out to investigate the abandoned jeep but finds no useful evidence. Pat Harvey sees the connection between her missing daughter and the other three couples and, not content to sit by and wait for the bodies to be found, calls in a psychic to help. Later, in winter, the bodies of the couple are found in woods near where the abandoned jeep was found. After medical examinations, Scarpetta is actually unable to determine the cause of death but finds a bullet hole in Deborah's spine. By examining past cases, Scarpetta finds two similar cases, one of which leads her to the suspect Steven Spurrier.

When Spurrier is arrested for attempting to steal license plates, his house is searched but no incriminating evidence is found. Police try to compare Spurrier's DNA evidence to the two past cases but the DNA samples do not turn out to match. Spurrier is released and Scarpetta's reporter friend Abby Turnbull is shot and killed by Spurrier when she approaches him. Finally, on a vendetta mission, Pat Harvey also shoots and kills Spurrier before Scarpetta can arrive to stop her.

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