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The Anteater of Death

A Theodora "Teddy" Bentley, Gunn Zoo Mystery by Betty Webb

The Anteater of Death by Betty Webb

Review: Betty Webb has penned a creative and fun mystery in The Anteater of Death, the first in her Zoo Mystery series. On the lighter side, the book has good humor and some laugh-out loud funny lines. I hadn't realized a zoo would make such a fabulous setting for a mystery, and Webb clearly did her research, taking advantage of all the atmosphere a zoo offers. We learn about monkeys, wolves and giant anteaters in general as well as individual critters such as Makeba, a giraffe who gives birth to a healthy baby; Cisco, the alpha male wolf; and Carlos, the magpie jay who, for some unknown reason, wants Teddy for his avian mate.

Teddy, a wonderful protagonist, has a down-to-earth attitude, a generous heart and a love of animals. Dumped by her ex, she struggles with the idea of getting involved again, especially with Sheriff Joe Rejas who broke her heart in high school. Or was it just that her mother ("don't call me mother, it's too age specific") shipped her off to finishing school in Virginia. Her mother, Caroline (Carol) Piper Bentley Mallory Huffgraf Petersen, I lost track of the number of husbands, wants Teddy to be more like her so they can go to the spa together, shop and double date, an idea that makes Teddy shudder. She has a love-hate relationship with her over-protective mother who tells her to quit her job every time something happens at the zoo. So the dead body in the anteater's pen has Carol all riled up.

Teddy vows to protect not only Lucy, but also someone else who the police have wrongly accused of the murder, and she'll do just about anything to that end, even dating the smarmy zoo director. Remember that generous heart I mentioned?

Webb paces the novel beautifully, dispensing details judiciously, so we don't learn too much too quickly. She writes vivid descriptions and strong characters, many of whom I'm sure we will get to know better in future books. I haven't read Webb's Desert series, so I can't make that comparison but The Anteater of Death sits high on my list of series to follow, right up their with Susan Wittig Albert's China Bayles series. I look forward to reading the next Zoo Mystery tale as soon as possible.

Special thanks to Katherine Petersen for contributing her review of The Anteater of Death.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Katherine Petersen — All Rights Reserved
Reprinted with Permission

Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author

Mystery Book Review: Desert Cut by Betty WebbDesert Cut
Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover), February 2008
ISBN-13: 9781590584910; ISBN-10: 1590584910

Mystery Book Review: Desert Lost by Betty WebbDesert Lost
Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover), December 2009
ISBN-13: 9781590586815; ISBN-10: 1590586816

Location(s) referenced in The Anteater of Death:

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The Anteater of Death by Betty Webb

The Anteater of Death by A Theodora "Teddy" Bentley, Gunn Zoo Mystery

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Format: Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-560-3
Publication Date:
List Price: $24.95

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