A zookeeper is sent to Iceland to bring home new animals only to find herself involved in yet another murder case.
Theodora “Teddy” Bentley is off to pick up a polar bear cub, a pair of puffins, and two Icelandic foxes for the new Northern Climes exhibit at the Gunn Zoo in California. On the plane over, Teddy sees a fight within a group of birdwatchers from Phoenix, little knowing she'll soon be entangled in their problems. She's staying with zookeeper Bryndis Sigurdsdottir, who picks her up at the airport, and the next day the two take a trip to a seaside village, where they stumble over the body of Simon Parr, whose record-setting lottery winnings financed the all-expenses-paid trip for the members of his birding group. Parr was married to bestselling author Elizabeth St. John, who's also a birder. When Bryndis’ sometimes-boyfriend Ragnar Eriksson is arrested because he had been in a bar fight with Parr, she begs Teddy, who has solved murders before (The Llama of Death, 2013, etc.), to investigate. Teddy gains easy access to the birders when former model Dawn Talley asks her to pretend to be an old friend and prove her husband, Ben, a birder who had some nasty arguments with Parr and has no alibi, is innocent. When Dawn ends up dead in the harbor, Inspector Thorvaald Haraldsson warns Teddy in the strongest terms to keep her pretty nose out of his investigation. But Teddy is not to be deterred and finds that everyone in the group is hiding secrets, many of them criminal, and at least two of the woman had affairs with Parr. Between taking care of Magnus, the adorable orphan bear cub, and the other animals, she manages to find time to snoop—which puts her right in the killer's cross hairs.
Plenty of animal lore and descriptions of Iceland’s unearthly beauty and culture make up for a mystery that, although filled with red herrings, is not hard to solve.