• Newsletter icon
  • Facebook icon
  • Twitter icon
  • Pinterest icon
  • Blog icon
  • YouTube icon
  • DBG Instagram

Mystery at the Gardens...Check out this novel at the Helen Fowler Library


Within the first few pages of Rex Burns’1978 detective novel Speak for the Dead, a grisly discovery is made by the Denver Botanic Gardens’ chief utility worker. While on his morning rounds, he discovers a murder victim…in the conservatory. Across the stream, down from the fig tree, and under “the broad leaf of an elephant-ear plant," the decapitated head of a young woman lies waiting for homicide detective Gabriel Wager to solve the mystery of her tragic end—and to find the rest of her.

This 70s era crime thriller takes you all around Denver, with key scenes taking place at Denver Botanic Gardens itself. The author makes reference to several landmarks recognizable today, though it’s also interesting to see how much has changed!  A bit dated (and I hope homicide detectives didn’t really drink so much wine and beer while they were on duty—even if they were on the nightshift), the book is still a fun read, especially for those of us with close ties to Denver Botanic Gardens.  Come by the Helen Fowler Library to check it out!

For those of you familiar with the Gardens in the late seventies, what are your memories and how do they compare with the Gardens today?  Does anyone remember how this book was received by Denver Botanic Gardens staff when it was published?



April Miller

Hi Susan, Someone must have really liked it, because I had to buy a used copy for the library too. Good thing there are still a few floating around out there!

This book will be exciting to read, if only to get an idea of what the Gardens were like during this time period.
Susan Eubank

Hi April, I bought a used copy for the Helen Fowler Library during my tenure. I thought it was a good acquisition, since it featured several of our folks.

Post a Comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.