You’re practically the godmother of forensics in fiction. Do you watch shows like CSI and think, "Wait, I did that first"?Learn about the novel Cornwell wishes she'd written.
I don’t watch CSI. I’m more interested in seeing the real procedures than a dramatic interpretation. No disrespect towards CSI or any others, but I enjoy crime shows that are richer in character and story, like Criminal Minds. I’m making a guest appearance on that next month. It’s not a huge role—I don’t catch the bad guys or anything, since they don’t need my help for that. But I’m fascinated by profiling and forensic psychology.
Why do you think people are suddenly so intrigued by forensics?
The human capacity to be curious has always existed. Think of what happens when you walk into someone’s bedroom and see a strange array of things—the phone is in a certain place, a notebook is on a chair, a hat is hung up. It’s in our nature to re-create what the person was doing. We’re taking in data constantly—getting information about people that will help us navigate through the world. We apply the same curiosity to a crime scene. The greatest gift is our own eyes, sense of smell, and abilities to deduce. Add to that the...[read on]