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BOOK REVIEW: THE ANTEATER OF DEATH
BY BETTY WEBB

We hope you enjoy this book review by Caryn St. Clair.



Webb's new series is quite a departure from her well known one featuring Lena Jones. While Lena is one tough lady with a mysterious past, her new protagonist, zoo keeper Theodora Iona Esmeralda Bentley (known to all as “Teddy”) has none of Lena's hard edges and unlike Lena, she knows, but doesn't particularly like her family. While the Lena Jones books take on serious social issues, Teddy's world evolves around caring for the animals of Gunn Landing Zoo. What the two series have in common is murder.

While making her early morning rounds, Teddy is concerned when she finds a man apparently asleep in the anteater's exhibit. Assuming the man somehow got into the exhibit and passed out during the event held at the zoo the previous evening, she attempts to wake him, only then realizing he's dead. Worse, the dead man turns out to be Grayson Harrill, the husband of a board member of the Gunn Family Trust which runs the zoo.

While Teddy is upset by Grayson's death, her immediate concern is for Lucy, the giant anteater who is pregnant and due to give birth within the week. Barry Fields, the director of the zoo wants to kill the animal. Cooler heads prevail at least for the time being, but Lucy is taken off exhibit and confined to her holding pen. When it turns out that Grayson did not die from an animal attack, but was shot, one of Teddy's friends is arrested for the murder. Before long, Teddy has taken upon herself the job of solving the murder.

Webb's new series will appeal to several groups of readers. While the mystery genre has many books featuring domestic animals, there are really not too many with their wild counterparts. Teddy, the very likable zoo keeper protagonist, is bound to draw animal lovers. For readers who enjoy a good laugh with their books, Teddy's family will fill that need. Her mother, a former beauty queen and socialite, is from a well known wealthy family that lost it's money during the depression. Her father is on the lam after embezzling millions and currently has a “connected” family looking for him. And for those readers who like over the top silliness, the book begins and ends with Lucy narrating. Those two chapters are short and the first one lets Lucy set the story up for readers. The last chapter? Well, you'll just have to read the book to see what Lucy's last thoughts in the book are.

REVIEWED BY CARYN ST. CLAIR

DO NOT REPRINT WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, CARYN ST. CLAIR


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