California zookeeper Theodora Bentley travels to Iceland to pick up an orphaned polar bear cub destined for the Gunn Zoo's newly installed Northern Climes exhibit. The trip is intended to be a combination of work and play.
But on day two, while horseback riding near a picturesque seaside village, Teddy discovers a man lying atop a puffin burrow, shot through the head. The victim is identified as American birdwatcher Simon Parr, winner of the largest Powerball payout in history. Is Teddy a witness - or a suspect? Others include not only Parr's wife, a famed suspense novelist, but fellow members of the birding club Parr had generously treated to their lavish Icelandic expedition. Hardly your average birders, several of them have had serious brushes with the law back in the States.
Guessing that an American would best understand other Americans, police detective Thorvaald Haraldsson grudgingly concedes her innocence and allows Teddy to tag along with the group to volcanoes, glaciers, and deep continental rifts in quest of rare bird species. But once another member of the club is murdered and a rockfall barely misses Teddy's head, Haraldsson forbids her to continue. She ignores him and, in a stunning, solitary face-off with the killer in Iceland's wild interior, concludes an investigation at once exotic, thrilling, and rich in animal lore.
About the Author
As a journalist, Betty Webb interviewed U.S. presidents, astronauts, and Nobel Prize winners, as well as the homeless, dying, and polygamy runaways. The dark Lena Jones mysteries are based on stories she covered as a reporter. Betty's humorous Gunn Zoo series debuted with the critically acclaimed The Anteater of Death , followed by The Koala of Death. A book reviewer at Mystery Scene Magazine , Betty is a member of National Federation of Press Women, Mystery Writers of America, and the National Organization of Zoo Keepers. www.bettywebb-zoomystery.com
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
THE PUFFIN OF DEATH by Betty Webb is Book 4 of the Gunn Zoo Mystery series. Teddy is sent to Reykjavik, Iceland by the head of the Gunn Zoo Trust, Aster Edwina. Teddy is picking up and learning to care for Magnus, an orphaned polar bear cub, a pair of injured puffins and a pair of Icelandic foxes. Of course, she becomes involved in a murder investigation shortly after she arrives. The plot was good and I liked the Icelandic characters far better than the shallow, self-absorbed American ones. The cover picture is great - a beautiful puffin. There is a list of characters - Icelandic and Americans; a cast of Icelandic animals and a helpful, interesting section - Icelandic for beginners. I am quite fond of puffins and enjoyed all the details about their habitats and lifestyle. There were many interesting details of animal care concerning polar bears and foxes which I enjoyed, too. There were earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, movie sets with fighting Vikings, Ninjas and Visigoths, a Viking girl band, interesting drinks and foods and of course, several murders. I am ready to pack my bags and go!
This is the fourth book in the Gunn Zoo Mystery series but the first one I have read. I very much enjoyed it and will go back and look for the rest of them. This edition takes place in Iceland and included detailed descriptions of Icelandic locations, people and culture. I enjoyed learning about the country and it's culture while reading this cozy mystery. Teddy (Theodora) is a zoo keeper who is engaged to a police officer at home. She has gotten involved in mystery and death prior to this book. The owner of the zoo where she works sends her off to Iceland to collect some animals (polar bear, arctic foxed and a pair of puffins) for her zoo. She heads off with the zoo credit card and decides to make the best of the situation and have a bit of a vacation. This does not work out the way she plans. On the first night there, she witnesses an altercation between an icelander (Ragnar) and a millionaire birder from Arizona who recently won the lottery. The next morning, she stumbles upon the body of said millionaire, Simon Parr. When Ragnar gets arrested for the crime, she gets drawn into the investigation to help her friend Bryndis, Ragnar's ex-girlfriend. While investigating she gets drawn into the lives of the Germonimo Birding Group that was travelling with Simon. Several of the members are suspect, have a reason to want Simon dead and act strangely. It is all very intriguing. I had my suspicions of the murderer along the way, but was not sure until the very end. That always makes a mystery more enjoyable for me. I found this book to be well written, have many interesting characters, especially Teddy, as well as being set in a unique location. I learned a lot about Iceland and when I asked my daughter about some of the information (she has been to Iceland) it was accurate. Obviously well researched. I would certainly recommend this book to those who like cozy mysteries as well as those who like to read about exotic or different locales. Thanks to Poised Pen Press and Netgalley for my copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
Theodora Bentley, zoo keeper from California, heads to Iceland to pick up a baby polar bear, that was acquired by the zoo. She also manages to involve herself in not 1, but 2 murders. Our Teddy, being cut from the same cloth as many of our other heroes, decides that her investigate experience is needed. But, when a rockfall barely misses Teddy, she is forbidden by Police Detective Haraldsson to delve any deeper into the murders. But we all know how well heroes listen to the police. Although this is the 3rd book in Betty's Gunn Zoo mysteries, it is the 1st one I have read. If you love zoos, and who doesn't, you'll love this series. FTC Full Disclosure - A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. (less)