2009 Winner of the Arizona Book Award for Mystery/Suspense
If Lucy, the pregnant Giant Anteater from Belize, didn't kill the man found dead in her enclosure at California's Gunn Zoo, who did? 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 and former beauty queen mother, who loathes Teddy's dangerous job, starts introducing her to eligible bachelors. Then Teddy herself becomes a target for murder.
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. She errs only in going too far in giving the anteater's point-of-view ("Get out. If you don't get out, I'll uncurl my claws and give you a rake down your belly"). The book's human perspective conveys everything we need to know about Lucy, her habitat and her behavior.