Watch CBSN Live

Patricia Cornwell: I'm the pop culture mother of CSI

(CBS News) Crime writer Patricia Cornwell took ownership of the CSI pop culture trend Wednesday on "CBS This Morning." Asked if she felt sort of like the "mother of CSI," the author said "I do. I have to admit when people told me about the show 'CSI' -- and I sort of cornered the market on forensics back in the '90s -- and I said, 'What happened? How did I miss that boat?'"

Cornwell has sold 100 million books in 36 languages in 120 countries. Twenty of her books feature forensic sleuth Kay Scarpetta and her advanced detective techniques.

She added, "I wish that the forensics was as 'Star Trek'-ian as CSI because the truth is we need so much more training in this country and it's not really like what I write about or see on TV. I wish it was that good everywhere. I think that what Scarpetta did was make forensic science and medicine accessible to people. So that made it possible for the entertainment industry to have a lot of fun with it."

Cornwell said she got the idea to write about forensics from her first job out of college as a journalist on the police beat.

"I'd get to a homicide scene and the body was gone," she said. "I wanted to know, what did they do with it? What is the body telling these people? I was just incredibly curious. So when I decided to try to writing crime fiction I started doing research, met a medical examiner, got to see a facility in the labs. This was way back in 1984 where they were just starting to talk about something called DNA and lasers and I said, 'Wow this is the world I want to know.'"

Cornwell's new novel, "The Bone Bed," continues the Scarpetta series with a story about a woman who vanishes while digging for dinosaur bones. "The Bone Bed" is now available in stores.

For more with Cornwell on what she has in common with her protagonist, author fame, and more, watch the video in the player above.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.