Author Patricia Cornwell leaving federal court in Boston.

Author Patricia Cornwell leaving federal court in Boston. Photo: AP

Crime writer Patricia Cornwell has won nearly $US51 million ($49.8 million) in a lawsuit against her former financial management company and a former principal in the firm.

The author best known for her series of novels featuring medical examiner Kay Scarpetta claimed that New York firm Anchin, Block & Anchin was negligent in handling her finances and cost her millions in losses or unaccounted revenue.

Lawyers for the firm and former principal Evan Snapper said there was no money missing from Cornwell's accounts. They blamed losses on the economic downturn and what they called Cornwell's extravagant spending.

Cornwell said she discovered in 2009 that her net worth was under $13 million, despite having eight-figure earnings in each of the previous four years.

She said the firm caused her to miss a book deadline for the first time in her career when it failed to find her a suitable place to write after renovation work on her house went on much longer than expected.

 

 

''This was very destabilising. I really lost my ability to focus and concentrate. I did not know what the book was about anymore,'' Cornwell said.

The lawsuit said the missed deadline caused Cornwell to lose one year's income of about $15 million in non-recoverable advances and commission.

Cornwell's relationship with Anchin began in 2004 when the firm agreed to manage all her money and the assets of her company, Cornwell Entertainment.

Cornwell said she was thrilled with verdict.

''God bless justice,'' she said. ''It's a huge relief and it's been a huge ordeal.''

AP