A Renaissance Faire provides both the setting and the weapon for a murder.
Teddy Bentley, a zookeeper at central California’s privately owned Gunn Zoo, has been given the job of supervising kiddie rides on Alejandro, the grumpy llama who luckily loves children. It is Alejandro’s screams that direct Teddy and other Faire workers to the dead body of the Rev. Victor Emerson, who is acting as King Henry VIII. It looks as if Alejandro has stomped him to death, but closer scrutiny reveals a crossbow dart buried in his neck. Unluckily for Teddy and everyone else, her fiance, Sheriff Joe Rejas, is in Virginia on a Homeland Security training session, and the man who’s doing his job, Deputy Elvin Dade, destroys all the evidence at the scene. He then arrests Teddy’s mother, Caro, a much-married socialite who threatened to kill Emerson. With Joe unreachable and Elvin too stupid to find the real murderer, Teddy starts sleuthing. As it turns out, the Reverend was not only not a minister, but he was also an escaped murderer and blackmailer. His several vocations provide entirely too many suspects, including Elvin’s prissy wife, who’s not pleased to discover that her marriage isn’t legal. When Teddy’s father, wanted for embezzlement, secretly flies in from Costa Rica to help his jailed former spouse and the blonde bombshell who was playing Anne Boleyn is murdered, the pressure is on Teddy to discover the killer before he adds her to his list.
Webb’s zoo-based series (The Koala of Death, 2010, etc.) is informative about the habits of the zoo denizens and often amusing, even when the murderer is as easy to spot as in this outing.