Could the anteater really have killed the California real-estate developer?
Lucy the anteater smells a human interloper in her digs at the Gunn Landing Zoo. Moments later, smelling death, she begins a meal of the ants crawling over the body. When the corpse is discovered the next morning, hotheaded zoo director Barry Fields angrily accuses zookeeper Theodora “Teddy” Bentley, who narrates the rest of the story, of negligently leaving the gate unlocked. Lucy, who has ripped the skin from the corpse in her search for ants, is assumed to be the killer. Teddy’s pal Zorah Vega, blunt head keeper at the zoo, stands up firmly against Fields’s determination that Lucy be destroyed. At length the victim is identified as slick real-estate tycoon Grayson Harrill, husband of Zoo Trust member Jeanette Gunn-Harrill, and the cause of death a very un-anteater–like gunshot wound to the abdomen. Teddy reacts apprehensively to Sheriff Joe Rejas’ appeals for help—after all, the pair was once headed for the altar, and either or both might still be carrying a torch—until Zorah is arrested for the murder. On the home front, Teddy’s hyper-feminine mother Caro keeps fixing her up with guys who are totally wrong for her.
Webb (Desert Cut, 2008, etc.) kicks off her new series with a bright heroine and an appealingly offbeat setting: a firm foundation later episodes can build on.