Patricia Cornwell: Writer takes the stand

Saturday February 9, 2013

BOSTON -- Crime writer Patricia Cornwell is the first to admit she is easily distracted by noise and finds it nearly impossible to write when she is interrupted.

So when renovation work at her house in Concord dragged on, Cornwell missed a book deadline for the first time in her career.

The failure to find her a suitable place to write is among the claims Cornwell makes in a lawsuit against her former financial management firm and business manager. When Cornwell took the witness stand Thursday in her lawsuit against Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP, a New York accounting and wealth management firm, and former principal Evan Snapper, she offered a glimpse into her writing process and the problems she says were caused by the firm. She said a series of apartments and other properties rented by the firm all had noise, construction or privacy issues.

She said the stress and distractions from repeatedly moving caused her to miss her deadline in 2006. The missed deadline caused her to lose one year’s income, about $15 million in non-recoverable advances and commissions, the lawsuit claims.

"This was very destabilizing. I really lost my ability to focus and concentrate. I did not know what the book was about anymore," Cornwell said. "I was just lost. I was adrift. I was extremely stressed."

Cornwell, 56, also said Anchin moved her from a conservative to an aggressive investment strategy without her permission.


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