The Koala of Death
A Theodora "Teddy" Bentley, Gunn Zoo Mystery by Betty Webb
Review: Zookeeper Theodora ("Teddy") Bentley wakes up to the sound of something bumping against the Merilee, the houseboat on which she lives at Gunn Landing harbor. The cause of the noise turns out to be the body of Kate Nido, better known as "Koala Kate", who cared for the koalas at the zoo. Kate's death doesn't appear suspicious at the beginning, but then other bodies start to pile up, and Teddy—much to the dismay of her sheriff boyfriend and over-protective mother—starts digging into Kate's life. But that isn't all Teddy has to worry about. She's also inherited Kate's morning TV spot on Good Morning San Sebastian where she introduces audiences to the behavior, and often-times misbehavior, of a variety of zoo animals including koalas and wallabies.
She must also try to appease Caro—don't call me mother, it makes me sound old—who is a many-times married former beauty queen intent on finding Teddy a rich husband. Teddy seems quite happy with the boyfriend she has, but that doesn't stop Caro's matchmaking efforts. Teddy must make periodic appearances at Caro's get-togethers to introduce the latest prospects, the current one being Caro's handsome new neighbor, the media mogul Ford Bronson.
Heedless of warnings from her boyfriend, Teddy continues to ask questions, determined to ferret out Kate's history. And the more answers she discovers, the more she finds herself in danger, dodging bullets and cars intent to push her off the road. But does Kate's murder have something to do with her past, or the result of a squabble with her ex-boyfriend, Outback Bill, or is it just a random event?
Betty Webb's second zoo mystery, The Koala of Death, doesn't quite have the suspense of the first installment, The Anteater of Death, but she makes up for it with quirky characters and crazy happenings at the TV studio where Teddy and her animals become famous. The plot moves forward at a fairly quick pace, although there are a few spots where I found myself hoping something would happen soon. These are not serious deficiencies though, and fans of the first book will enjoy the second. Webb has a talent for spunky dialog and bringing the characteristics of animals and their relationships with people to life for her readers. Not only does Webb invent terrific characters, but she gives readers insight into animals not normally seen on a daily basis unless one spends as much time at the zoo as Teddy. This series will appeal to animal fans as well as those of cozy mysteries.
Special thanks to Katherine Petersen for contributing her review of The Koala of Death.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Katherine Petersen — All Rights Reserved
Reprinted with Permission
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover), December 2009
ISBN-13: 9781590586815; ISBN-10: 1590586816
The Llama of Death
Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover), January 2013
ISBN-13: 9781464200663; ISBN-10: 1464200661
Location(s) referenced in The Koala of Death:
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The Koala of Death by Betty Webb — A Theodora "Teddy" Bentley, Gunn Zoo Mystery
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: August 2010
List Price: $24.95