Who tossed elephant keeper Jerry Brobst off the roof of the pachyderm building at the Columbus Zoo and into the African elephant yard? Freelance reporter Charlotte Sams (Showcase, 1992), who's afraid of heights and isn't crazy about elephants either, is hardly the most likely person to find out--even if she was practically on the scene, about to respond to Jerry's request for an interview. Did he want to talk about the marijuana grove under cultivation in a tidy corner of the zoo? Or the real identity of the crazy zoo groupie everybody calls Cheetah Rita? Or the checkered past of cowboy zoo director Bob Sticher? When Charlotte returns from a junket to the Tulsa City Zoo, where she learned that Bob cooked the Tulsa books to make his balance sheet look better to prospective employers, she hears that Bob's been found dead in his garage with his car's engine still running. Surely Jerry wasn't planning on confessing his affair with Naomi Hogan, wife of the surly groundskeeper who's Charlotte's number-one suspect for keeping those marijuana grounds? Whatever his secret was, it leads to all the usual perils for Charlotte (a taped threat on her Walkman, a stint locked into the zoo freezer, a bout with a defanged snake) and some remarkably flat writing (``All this death was just too much,'' Charlotte reflects sadly after Bob's untimely demise). Despite one cleverly placed clue, neither the people nor the animals are riveting enough to make you want to join Cheetah Rita at zooside.