01 June 2010

Just finished reading...

The Koala of Death by Betty Webb.*

The second novel starring zookeeper Theodora "Teddy" Bentley begins when she is awakened early one morning by a thunk against the side of the Merilee, the 34-foot trawler she lives aboard. She is understandably shocked to find the body of one of her co-workers, Kate Nido, the koala keeper at the Gunn Zoo.

Teddy didn't know Kate very well, as the koala keeper was relatively new, and they worked opposite schedules. They'd both been at a party on a neighboring boat the previous night, though Teddy had left much earlier than most to get some sleep before having to work in the morning.

One of the other zookeepers, a part-timer known as "Outback Bill", who'd been dating Kate, is arrested for the crime. Meanwhile, Teddy has to take over Kate's publicity duties for the zoo (she can't say no because the Merilee needs a new engine). Not only does she need to prove Bill's innocence because she's convinced of it, but because she doesn't want to take over Bill's job as well.

When another murder occurs in the marina, Teddy agrees to move into the Bentley mansion with her mother, who dislikes Joe, and loves to arrange dates between Teddy and eligible wealthy bachelors.

But Teddy can't stay locked up in the family home forever, and because her life and her job intersect so closely with those of the two victims, she finds herself targeted by someone who may be the killer.

Webb's research about animals and zoo operations is thorough and engrossing. Teddy is an engaging protagonist, and I hope to see more of her!

*eGalley received through netGalley.

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