Few writers make a decent living from their words alone.
Patricia Cornwell is one noted exception to that rule.
She has earned a tidy fortune from her wildly popular series of crime novels, featuring protagonist Kay Scarpetta solving mysteries with a medical bent.
Her talent for writing has not translated into a talent for managing her income and investments. Her talent for writing has not been honed into an instinct to trust everyone, but always cut the cards.
Ms. Cornwell is suing the firm she hired to handle her fortune, claiming that Anchin, Block and Anchin churned her and burned her to the tune of over $100 million.
For their part, Anchin et al. claim that Ms. Cornwell was so demanding that she drove up her hourly billing and so she brought on the added expensive. They did what they were hired to do, but sadly the economy tanked and the author was not alone in losing big.
The author states in her complaint that she was shocked to learn that Anchin, Block and Anchin had invested her money in risky ventures when she wanted to act conservatively.
Conservative is subjective, like a reader's dislike or enjoyment of a particular novel. Fund managers and those whose money is being manipulated may not see eye to eye on the meaning of the word.
Sadly, Ms. Cornwell failed to examine the books until after the downturn, whereupon she found some strange dealings that would indicate Anchin's managing partner, Evan Snapper, helped himself to some of the author's funds without informing her.
Like writing a check to his own daughter as a bat mitzvah gift from Patrician Cornwell, a $5000 gift when tradition dictates that monetary tokens be $18 or a sum divisible by the same.
Mr. Snapper is going to blame the economic downturn, and the fact that Ms. Cornwell failed to look over his shoulder.
She could have examined the books any time, but she trusted someone to not be tempted by vast sums of money. That's the problem with having someone else do things for you. If it goes wrong, the courts will dump a large share of the blame on you, for not cutting the cards when you sat down with the dealer to gamble on the financial markets.
In the end, it will be up to a court in Boston to decide how much of the fault lies with her and how much with the bean counters. Ms. Cornwell may not come away with all that she lost, but she will come away with a better understanding of the limits of trust and the meaning of risk-taking in a world outside of fiction.