Heyman, formerly on the staff of Life and The New York Times, makes her debut with this novel about a rough-and-ready female wildlife photographer. In it, she mixes conservationist zoology with romance, and winds up with a strange stew. Her heroine is Mirie Keane, off for the adventure of her life in an African land called Simahali--where she has "given herself a chimerical task, of photographing an elephant being born in the wild." Back home, Mirie assumes, her scriptwriter-boyfriend waits; in Simahali, she's set up to go on safari with the master shutterbug, Max Howden--an attractive but standoffish fellow whom Mirie can't quite read. She finds lots of elephants, though no deliveries, injures herself abandoning a crashing plane, has her camera confiscated by a Simahalian official, and then learns by mail that her New York beau has jumped ship. Shanghaied in Simahali, Mirie decides to join Max on a trip to one of the remotest parts of Africa, where a mama elephant offers her that photo opportunity she's been waiting for (in a cave, shades of Tarzan at the elephant's graveyard), and Max at last unzips his sleeping bag to her. Heyman has a discomfiting penchant for theatrical gesture and a main character with problems, chiefly her fuzzy-headedness and self-concern--which keep her quest for baby elephants from seeming much weightier than a handful of peanuts.