The Koala of Death
By Betty Webb
(Poisoned Pen Press, Hardcover, 9781590587560, 250pp.)
Publication Date: August 1, 2010
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When zoo keeper Theodora Teddy” Bentley fishes the body of Koala Kate out of Gunn Landing Harbor, she discovers that her fellow zoo keeper didn’t drown; she was strangled. The clues to Koala Kate’s killer implicate other animal keepers at the Gunn Zoo, including Outback Bill, marsupial keeper and Kate’s Aussie ex-boyfriend; and Robin Chase, the big cat keeper who’s got it in for Teddy. Also displaying suspicious behavior are several liveaboarders” at the harbor; Speaks-To-Souls, a shady animal psychic”; and even Caro, Teddy’s much-married, ex-beauty queen mother. But murderers aren’t all Teddy has to worry about. Her embezzling father is still on the run from the Feds, and the motor on the Merilee, her beloved houseboat is failing. To pay for the repairs, Teddy agrees to appear on a weekly live television broadcast featuring misbehaving animals that range from Wanchu, a cuddly koala, to Abim, a panicky wallaby and all hell breaks loose in the TV studio. To add to Teddy’s woes, the killer zeroes in on her with near-fatal results. The Koala of Death brings a return to Gunn Zoo and the social-climbing humans and eccentric animals that made the prize-winning The Anteater of Death so popular. Readers will enjoy this behind-the-scenes peek at zoo life, and learn that poor little rich girls like Teddy lead much more complicated lives that they’d ever imagine especially when they’re tracking killers.
Before writing mysteries full time, Betty Webb worked as a journalist, interviewing everyone from U.S. presidents and Nobel Prize winners, to the homeless and polygamy runaways. Most of her books are based on the stories she covered as a reporter. Today she's a volunteer at the Phoenix Zoo, and is also a member of the National Federation of Press Women, Mystery Writers of America, the Society of Southwestern Authors, and Women Writing the West.
"Teddy’s second adventure will appeal to animal lovers who enjoy a bit of social satire with their mystery." -- Booklist
"Teddy's second case (The Anteater of Death, 2008) showcases an engaging array of quirky characters, human and animal." -- Kirkus Reviews
"From mucking out the cages to carrying a lemur with a loose sphincter onto a TV set, Teddy's adventures will appeal to fans of animal-themed cozies." -- Library Journal
“Webb warmly evokes the unconventional worlds of zoo and marina. Readers don't even have to be animal lovers to enjoy watching, say, a pushy television host get her comeuppance from a mischievous lemur.” — Publishers Weekly