Cadaver in my Garden

What you are about to read is a true account of an actual event.  The names haven’t been changed because no one will care.

First, let me start at the beginning, don’t worry it won’t take long.  I moved to the country about five years ago.  It’s lovely with wide-open spaces, room to breathe, tons of trees, and wildlife.  Many times when I wake up in the morning I think that I’m at a vacation house instead of my own home.  Also, I can jump in my car and drive ten to fifteen minutes and I’m on the beach.  It’s the best of both worlds.  It’s a perfect place for a writer to work. 

My academic and consulting background is in forensics and criminology.  Basically, I study crime and criminals.  I love to blog about all kinds of things pertaining to these fields.  I don’t know about you, but I seem to gravitate toward any new information about crime, criminals, and serial killers

I would like to think of myself as being aware of what’s going on around me.  I pay attention to who is near me either at home or out in the community.  I’m a detail oriented person who has a lot of curiosity thrown in for good measure.  So you can imagine my surprise when I was taking a break from writing one afternoon from my newest crime fiction addition to the Emily Stone Series and I smelled… well… something dead.  There was absolutely NO mistaking that smell.  Unlike what was reported during the Casey Anthony Trial.  You might think since I live out in the country it’s most likely a dead animal, like a pack rat, squirrel, or even (heaven forbid) a neighbor’s cat.  Right?


Or, should I say dead wrong. 

I smelled this dreadful “odor” for a couple of days.  I looked around in my flowerbeds and around some potted plants, to no avail.  I decided to ask my husband if he’d smelled the “dead” smell.  Maybe he had some insight?

“Honey, it smells like something’s dead in the front yard.”

He agreed with me.  “I smelled it too.  You mean you haven’t found it yet?”  He said with a cynical smile, knowing how much it irked me not being able to find its source.

I told him that I was going to hunt it down no matter what.  The temperature was rising and it was going to ratchet up to all time stinkfest soon.

I began at my front door and used my nose.  I wasn’t going to quit until I found the source of the smell.  I felt like I was Emily Stone in one of my novels hunting down a serial killer.  I was on a mission.  My two Labs padded obediently behind me, curious at what their alpha mom was going to do and why.  The stink kept getting stronger and stronger.  I knew I was close… So I followed my nose so to speak…

The smell was the strongest at where my husband’s work truck and equipment was stored.  We searched, but there was nothing there.

It was very curious indeed.

I just had to know where that horrific smell was coming from.  Now it was personal, I was going to stay outside until I found the little decomposing critter.

Then it hit me… an actual Oprah aha moment.

I turned and looked under a large bottlebrush bush and there it was!  It was… one of the most striking, amazing looking lily’s I’d ever seen.  The plant was three feet tall and the deep magenta bloom was at least twelve inches long.  I remembered something a gardening neighbor told me about this plant.  It actually SMELLS just like ROTTING FLESH!  Yes, you read correctly – rotting and decomposing flesh.  I can’t imagine anyone planting this plant in their garden or even near their house.  It’s called appropriately by many street names: stink lily, voodoo lily, cadaver lily, dragon lily and so on.  Its “official” name is Dracunculus vulgaris.  The photo posted above is the actual culprit or victim in my garden.  

I finally found the cadaver in my garden.  I’ve now closed the investigation.

Case solved!

Here’s a short link to this article:


Crime Watch Blog:
Book & Crime Talk:
Books: Compulsion = Dead Game = Silent Partner = Screenwriting

About jchasenovelist

Published thriller author, criminologist, and blogger.
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2 Responses to Cadaver in my Garden

  1. Michelle Dobbins says:

    Lol, glad it wasn’t something more sinister, but I guess it could have given you some good material for a future book! :)


  2. Me too! Maybe it will bring a nice little tidbit in a book sometime :)


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