Saturday, January 5, 2013

Review: The Llama of Death: A Gunn Zoo Mystery by Betty Webb

  • Hardcover: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (Jan 8 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1464200661
  • ISBN-13: 978-1464200663

Book Description

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 jeopardy. 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. 

About the Author

As a journalist, Betty Webb interviewed U.S. presidents, astronauts who walked on the moon, and Nobel Prize-winners, as well as the homeless, the dying, and polygamy runaways. The dark Lena Jones mysteries, based on stories she covered as a reporter, include "Desert Lost" ("One of the Top Five Mysteries of 2009, Library Journal), "Desert Noir" ("A mystery with a social conscience," Publishers Weekly) and "Desert Wives," ("Eye-popping," New York Times), and "Desert Wind," given a starred review by Publishers Weekly. Betty’s humorous Gunn Zoo series debuted with the critically-acclaimed "The Anteater of Death," followed by "The Koala of Death." A long-time 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.

My Review

I've read Betty Webb's Lena Jones series which is excellent.  This series, the Gunn Zoo series, is a lot lighter but still an enjoyable read. There are a lot of quirky characters inhabiting the locale of San Sebastian, California.  And quirky characters do interesting suspects make!

I learned a lot about animals and private zoos.  I found this mystery to be very entertaining.  Betty Webb has  a very readable writing style so it was a pleasure to read.  Highly recommend The Llama of Death which will be released next week.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely -- and well-writen -- review of "Llama." Thanks so much!