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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. (Dec.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.