As a journalist, Betty Webb interviewed U.S. presidents, astronauts, and Nobel Prize winners, as well as the homeless, dying, and polygamy runaways. Betty’s humorous Gunn Zoo series debuted with the critically acclaimed The Anteater of Death; The Otter of Death continues the light tone, even while dealing with serious issues like sexual assault, the environment, and endangered species. The most recent installment in the dark Lena Jones P.I. mysteries, based on stories Betty covered as a reporter, is Desert Vengeance. 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.
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Webb’s clever, briskly paced fifth Gunn Zoo mystery (after 2015’s The Puffin of Death) finds genial, trouble-prone zookeeper Theodora “Teddy” Bentley taking a morning walk along the California coastline near her home on her day off. While counting otters as part of a study on the effects of offshore drilling on them, she spots one of her favorites with an expensive cellphone tucked under its flipper. Teddy snatches the phone. The camera mode is still on and displays an image of the blood-splattered face of marine biology instructor and fellow otter counter Stuart Booth. The police, headed by Teddy’s fiancé, San Sebastian County Sheriff Joseph Rejas, locate Stuart’s body, and the hunt for his murderer begins. Suspects abound, including a long list of female students who accused him of sexual abuse over the years, most of whom were either disbelieved or paid off by his wealthy in-laws. While examining some timely social issues, Webb also delivers lots of edifying information on the animal kingdom in an entry sure to please fans and newcomers alike. -- Publishers Weekly
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 bird-watcher 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.
Zookeeper Theodora "Teddy" Bentley takes Alejandro, the Gunn Zoo llama, to a Monterey Bay-area Renaissance Faire only to discover the still-warm body of the Reverend Victor Emerson, owner of the local wedding chapel, dressed in his royal robes as Henry the Eighth. At first it appears as if Aljandro stomped the man to death, but a closer look reveals a crossbow dart in the man's back. Teddy's investigation proves the "reverend" isn't really a reverend at all -- he's an escaped convict, and every marriage he's performed in the past twenty years is null and void. Teddy's mother Caro, a spoiled ex-beauty queen, becomes the chief suspect and is immediately jailed when she causes a riot in the courtroom.The "reverend" had twice married Caro to wealthy men, and when both marriages failed, Caro received large financial settlements. Now she may have to give all that money back, certainly a good enough reason to commit murder. But Caro wasn't the only person gunning for Victor. The child of the man Victor once murdered may have wanted to kill him, too, and at one point, even Teddy herself if handcuffed and jailed. Even worse, Teddy's embezzling father flies in from exile in Costa Rica to help spring Caro from jail, thus putting his own freedom in jeapoardy. As Teddy continues her investigation, she finds herself up to her ears in girl gang members, squabbling boat liveaboarders, Renaissance Faire actors and stuntmen, and assorted animals. Written with a humorous touch, "The Llama of Death" portrays Renaissance Faire life, and gives the reader a rare behind-the-scenes look at modern zoos.
When zoo keeper Theodora "Teddy" Bentley fishes the body of Koala Kate out of Gunn Landing Harbor, she discovers that her fellow zoo keeper didn't drown; she was strangled. The clues to Koala Kate's killer implicate other animal keepers at the Gunn Zoo, including Outback Bill, marsupial keeper and Kate's Aussie ex-boyfriend; and Robin Chase, the big cat keeper who's got it in for Teddy. Also displaying suspicious behavior are several "liveaboarders" at the harbor; Speaks-To-Souls, a shady "animal psychic"; and even Caro, Teddy's much-married, ex-beauty queen mother. But murderers aren't all Teddy has to worry about. Her embezzling father is still on the run from the Feds, and the motor on the Merilee, her beloved houseboat is failing. To pay for the repairs, Teddy agrees to appear on a weekly live television broadcast featuring misbehaving animals that range from Wanchu, a cuddly koala, to Abim, a panicky wallaby - and all hell breaks loose in the TV studio. To add to Teddy's woes, the killer zeroes in on her with near-fatal results. The Koala of Death brings a return to Gunn Zoo and the social-climbing humans and eccentric animals that made the prize-winning The Anteater of Death so popular. Readers will enjoy this behind-the-scenes peek at zoo life, and learn that poor little rich girls like Teddy lead much more complicated lives that they'd ever imagine - especially when they're tracking killers.
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.