The Anteater of Death
A Gunn Zoo Mystery
By Betty Webb
(Poisoned Pen Press, Hardcover, 9781590585603, 261pp.)
Publication Date: November 15, 2008
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But if Lucy, the pregnant Giant Anteater from Belize, didn't kill the man found dead in her enclosure, who did? California zookeeper Teddy Bentley must find the real murderer before her furry friend is shipped off to another zoo in disgrace.
Then another human bites the dust, the monkeys riot, and the wolves go nuts. Things get worse when the snooty folks at Gunn Landing Harbor attempt to evict Teddy from the Merilee, her beloved houseboat. That's just the beginning. Her father, on the lam from the Feds for embezzling millions, gets targeted by a local gangster; and Caro, Teddy's socialite mother, a former beauty queen who loathes Teddy's dangerous job, starts introducing her to 'eligible bachelors.' But Teddy has already given her heart to Sheriff Joe Rejas, a migrant worker's son. Caro is not pleased.
Zoo life, animal lore, and the leaky ups and downs of Central Coast California houseboat living create a thrilling backdrop for murder.
Betty Webb is the author of the acclaimed Lena Jones mystery series, which includes Desert Cut and Desert Wives. A former Californian who once lived on a boat, like the zookeeper protagonist of The Anteater of Death, Betty now lives in landlocked Arizona, where she volunteers at the Phoenix Zoo. She also teaches Creative Writing at Phoenix College and is a member of the National Association of Press Women, Mystery Writers of America, and the Authors Guild.
"Webb, author of Desert Cut and four other Lena Jones mysteries, launches a new series featuring a warm and unconventional heroine, zookeeper Theodora 'Teddy' Bentley. Teddy is dismayed to learn that a pregnant anteater in her care, Lucy, appears to have mauled to death a prominent patron of California's Gunn Landing Zoo, Grayson Harrill. When it turns out that someone shot Harrill first, Teddy turns sleuth to discover who framed her beloved Lucy. The colorful supporting cast includes Teddy's beauty queen mother, who makes her daughter call her Caro; Harrill's wife and descendant of the zoo's founder; and the zoo's controversial director. Webb deftly weaves zoological lore into the fast-moving plot... The book's human perspective conveys everything we need to know about Lucy, her habitat and her behavior." -- Publishers Weekly
"Webb (Desert Cut, 2008, etc.) kicks off her new series with a bright heroine and an appealingly offbeat setting: a firm foundation later episodes can build on." -- Kirkus Reviews
"Webb, author of the well-written Lena Jones PI series, not only presents a clear picture of what it is like to work in a zoo but also introduces an engaging new protagonist who will appeal to mystery buffs who enjoy light animal mysteries." -- Library Journal
"Webb’s new series combines a good puzzle with animal lore, a behind-the-scenes look at zoo operations, and plenty of humor." -- Booklist