A few years after our son Jordan was diagnosed with MSUD, a friend told me that she had read a crime fiction novel whose killer had MSUD. I don’t typically read murder mysteries but my curiosity got the best of me, so I purchased the book Post Mortem written by Patricia Cornwell and published in 1990. In the book, a medical examiner is trying to solve the murders of several women who have one thing in common: the smell of maple syrup left behind by their killer. The story implies that the killer has a rare metabolic disorder. The medical examiner uses the latest advancements in forensic science including DNA to help solve the crime.

Even though it is an intense story, I found the references to MSUD rather amusing and wanted to share it with all of you as you may enjoy reading it also.


Postmortem is a crime fiction novel by author Patricia Cornwell. The first book of the Dr. Kay Scarpetta series, it received the 1991 Edgar Award for Best First Novel.

The book is loosely based on the killings of Timothy Wilson Spencer, who was active in Richmond, Virginia, at the time Cornwell was working at the mourge as a computer analyst.

Under cover of night in Richmond, Virginia, a human monster strikes, leaving a gruesome trail of stranglings that has paralyzed the city. Medical examiner Kay Scarpetta suspects the worst: a deliberate campaign by a brilliant serial killer whose signature offers precious few clues. With an unerring eye, she calls on the latest advances in forensic research to unmask the madman. But this investigation will test Kay like no other, because it’s being sabotaged from within and someone wants her dead.

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