A Conversation with Former Chief of Staff of the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner Barbara Butcher, Author of What the Dead Know

Primary tabs

Program Type:

Author Events

Age Group:

Please note you are looking at an event that has already happened.
Registration for this event is no longer open.

Program Description

Event Details

An evening with the former Chief of Staff of the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner, Barbara Butcher, who will discuss her book What the Dead Know: Learning About Life as a New York City Death Investigator. The conversation will be moderated by Michelle Clark, Medicolegal Death Investigator for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Connecticut.

Barbara Butcher was early in her recovery from alcoholism when she found an unexpected lifeline: a job at the Medical Examiner’s Office in New York City. The second woman ever hired for the role of death investigator in Manhattan, she was the first to last more than three months. The work was gritty, demanding, morbid, and sometimes dangerous—and she loved it.

Butcher spent day after day investigating double homicides, gruesome suicides, and most heartbreaking of all, underage rape victims who had also been murdered. In What the Dead Know, she writes with the kind of New York attitude and bravado you might expect from decades in the field, investigating more than 5,500 death scenes, 680 of them homicides. In the opening chapter, she describes how from sheer luck of having her arm in a cast, she avoided a booby-trapped suicide. Further in the book she also describes working the attack on 9/11, where she and her colleagues initially relied on family members' descriptions to help distinguish among the 21,900 remains of the victims.

Book sale and signing by Elm Street Books.

Registration required.