Patricia Cornwell wins her case

Here we gazed in awe at mystery novelist Patricia Cornwell’s lifestyle and the lawsuit she had lodged against her financial advisers.

Now she has won the lawsuit, to the tune of $51 million dollars. She seems to have given the Boston Globe a lot of access during and after the trial, in return for which she got prose like this:

And Cornwell is sitting, one leg crossing the other, just a couple of hours after the decision, lamenting the journey she had to go through in the first place, the type of challenges not even a hero in one of her novels should have to face.

“It’s just, we have fought long and hard,” she said, her Southern drawl deepening as she gets more heated while discussing the betrayal of her former finance manager, Evan Snapper, and his company, Anchin, Block & ­Anchin LLP.

“It’s just been harrowing, but we felt we needed to do the right thing, we needed to fight,” she said, in an hour-long interview with the Globe.

If I’m puzzled by why Cornwell didn’t pay closer attention to how her money was managed, I’m even more puzzled by why the financial management firm thought they could get away with the malfeasance they were found guilty of.  They would have made out perfectly well without it.  Why did the defendant, for example, forge a $5000 check from Cornwell as a bat mitzvah present to his daughter?  This sort of stuff is too stupid for fiction, and I hope Cornwell doesn’t put it in a novel, as she told the Globe she was thinking about doing.  That novel wouldn’t be worth reading.

Patricia Cornwell has problems that you and I are never going to have

The mystery novelist Patricia Cornwell is suing her former financial management firm for tens of millions of dollars.  I read about it in the Boston Globe; here is the story reprinted in another newspaper (the Globe version is behind a paywall).  This gives you a flavor of what the suit is about:

Cornwell said she was flabbergasted to learn, upon her questioning in 2009, that her net worth was only eight figures, which was her annual income in each of the previous four years.

When she took a closer look at the books, she said, she discovered that Anchin had borrowed money in her name for real estate investments without her knowledge. She says money from the sale of her Ferrari was unaccounted for, and she had to pay close to $200,000 in taxes on a helicopter because the firm wrongly registered it in New York.

She also says that Anchin mishandled a financial transaction involving 48 rare books, leaving the money unaccounted for, and that she found a $5,000 check that Snapper had written for a bat mitzvah gift to his daughter from Cornwell.

In addition, Cornwell’s wife, a Boston-area neurologist, also claims she was bilked by the firm.

Here is Cornwell venting about the case in the Huffington Post.

And here are my banal. uninformed comments:

  • She had a helicopter???
  • She had an eight figure income?  That’s a lot of figures, for someone who isn’t a professional basketball player.
  • I can see an author getting bilked; authors live in a different world.  But a neurologist, too?

I read one of Cornwell’s early Scarpetta novels; I vaguely remember it as being OK, but not quite good enough to make me want to read another.  Clearly the way to untold wealth in the writing biz is to come up with an ongoing series that keeps all your old novels in print and selling.  But clearly that’s not necessarily the path to happiness and peace of mind.  I have this idea that, if I had enough money (well short of eight figures), I’d just invest it conservatively and continue to live more or less the way I live now, so I wouldn’t have to worry about money ever again.  But I’m probably deluded.  Probably if I had as much money as Patricia Cornwell, I’d want a helicopter too.