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The Anteater of Death: A Gunn Zoo Mystery [Hardcover]

Betty Webb

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Book Description

Nov. 15 2008 Gunn Zoo Series
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.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 261 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (Nov. 15 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590585607
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590585603
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 14.6 x 21.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,584,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"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

About the Author

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.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  41 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I have fallen in love with an Anteater! Dec 10 2008
By M. C. Carter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Buy or borrow this book. Do not steal this book....that would make Lucy mad and apparently that's one thing you never want to do....go head to head or toe to talon with an enraged anteater.

I have long been a fan of the author's other series but was blown away by this book. Lucy and her keeper Teddy are fresh and wonderful, the zoo and the marina and the castle are superb locations. I thought I pegged the killer early (and I turned out to be right) but that didn't take away from the sheer joy of the book. There is a nice cast of slightly 'different' supporting characters but the craziness is well contained and only adds to the joy...(if you are a reader of the Meg Langslow books by Donna Andrews, the crazy supporting cast is very similar.) And there's a nice love story and a hunky ex boyfriend now the sheriff and an on-the lam father and an entire zoo full of friends...both animal and human.

Buy this book borrow this book, read this book and love this book!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Noble Animals and Savage Humans Dec 1 2008
By Steven Rigolosi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Zookeeper Teddy Bentley is caught between worlds. The divorced daughter of a money-hungry forever-dieting society vixen, she prefers living on her rickety houseboat to cohabiting with Caro (whom she's not allowed to call "Mother") in the unspeakably expensive neighborhood of their swanky California coastal home. Having been burned too many times--most recently by a cheating ex-husband--Teddy prefers the company of her animal charges at the privately owned Gunn Zoo, as well as her own misfit pets (DJ Bonz the three-legged dog, and Miss Priss the one-eyed cat).

Webb has crafted an intricate mystery that goes beyond the usual whodunnit to touch on social stratification (a wealthy snob is trying to have liveaboarders at the marina evicted because their boats aren't upscale enough), social climbing and the problems of "old money," and the difficulty of learning to trust when everyone around you seems greedy, conniving, and/or homicidal.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Anteater of Death, and was (pleasantly) surprised to find that the book has two sources of suspense: not only the murders that Teddy sets out to investigate, but also the behavior of zoo animals. You spectate tensely and jaw-clenchingly as a gentle giraffe gives birth (Will the baby survive the six-foot drop?), as a child falls into the bear pit, as a mated pair of wolves have a bloody lovers' quarrel, and even as Teddy herself has a shaky encounter with one of her beloved animals.

I love a mystery that makes you think, and The Anteater of Death makes you speculate on the similarities and differences between humans and zoo animals, as we watch the worst-behaved of the animals mirror the interactions of the venal humans around them, and the best-behaved of the animals relentlessly put human beings to shame. An added bonus is the sleaziest, creepiest, most disgustingly sexist villain I've read in a while, who provides suitable fodder for the reader's bile as well as some terrific comic moments. Here's hoping Teddy will be back for more.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved It! Jan. 14 2013
By Gayle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a new series for me. I saw the 3rd book (The Llama of Death) in the Coming Soon category on Audible, liked the description and downloaded this - the first book of the series - on Audible & for my Kindle. It's wonderful! I've already downloaded book 2 (The Koala of Death) and can't wait to read more about Teddy and her friends at the Gunn Zoo! This is a wholesome story with a very talented narrator too! You owe it to yourself to give it a try.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars wouldn't call it a cozy . . . . Jan. 3 2013
By Larkin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The author's writing style was good; her dialogue was excellent, and her characters were well drawn. I saw no spelling/grammar errors, etc. She was thorough in her research of zoo activity, as well. I did think there was a surfeit of characters, which detracted from my enjoyment of the book. Warning: there may be spoilers ahead.

I would not call this book a cozy, but that's just my subjective definition of one. I'd never thought about it before, but I guess I've decided that a bunch of little factors, added together, decrease a book's "coziness". For starters, there is more than one description of someone vomiting. I can only tolerate one per cozy, thank you very much! :) Also, in my definition of a cozy, there is less foul language than this book had, and there isn't as much emphasis on romance (past or present). As a matter of fact, I would call this book 1/3 documentary (info on the zoo animals, etc.), 1/3 romance novel, and 1/3 who-dunnit.

One thing I disliked was that the author has her protagonist whine about her "lost love" at age 15. She blames her parents for separating them, and spends way too much time wondering if she would've escaped years of emotional trauma if she'd been allowed to stay with her teen crush. As a parent, I wouldn't have been happy about my 15-year old sleeping with a 17-year old, not to mention when he turned 18 and she was still a minor. What the parents did was drastic, but we never get to hear what steps they may have taken first to dissuade her from the possible consequences of teen pregnancy, etc. It just bothers me that this 30-year old woman is still thinking like a lust-driven 15-year old, instead of realizing that her parents weren't so "evil" for doing this. The author gives Teddy some good character traits, but for me, they were overshadowed by this facet of the story.

I enjoyed the zoo information, and (if I were planning on reading another in this series) I would want more information about different animals. Before this book, I knew almost nothing about anteaters. I did enjoy the scenes with Lucy/Teddy interaction.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Creative, Fun and Refreshing Sept. 11 2012
By Ria Darling - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
This is the first in the Teddy Bentley Zoo series and I purchased it at the recommendation of a friend. It doesn't disappoint-it's a tight little cosy of a mystery. Teddy is fine protagonist but the truly interesting are the characters who surround her- her beauty queen mother Caro, the elderly matriarch of the Gunn family and trust, her criminal father, the slimy zoo director and the random suspects with too much time and money. And the anteater, Lucy, who is just fantastic and who narrates the beginning and end of the book. My only complaint is that she doesn't narrate more! The author does a great job with zoo life and the details of the animals. It's a light fun cosy mystery that is well done and worth the time if you like such books.
ARRAY(0xb5922798)

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