BOOK REVIEW: THE ANTEATER OF DEATH
“Zoos are little pieces of Eden. In the morning, before the gates open and the crowds stream in, the groundskeepers trim and sweep so that the scent of greenery blends with the odor of fresh urine as the animals indulge in their first pee of the day. It’s the fifth day of Creation all over again, when only animals populated the Earth and God was pleased with his handiwork.”
Never judge a book by its title. As bizarre as this title is, the novel is superbly written and definitely one of my favorite books for reading this year. Betty Webb is one author that constantly amazes me by how each book is always better, but all of her books that I have read are outstanding. THE ANTEATER OF DEATH revolves around the life of Theodora “Teddy” Bentley who is reluctantly from a wealthy family and who by her choice works as a zookeeper and lives on a boat. Her father is a non-dangerous felon with a heart who managed to hide money for Teddy in a foreign account if and when she chooses to use it. Her mother, who prefers to be called Caro, is constantly appalled at the unglamorous life-style Teddy chooses for herself. Teddy’s personal ethics prevent her from fixing up her houseboat and from living an extravagant life style. She doesn’t like using ill-gotten funds.
Teddy enjoys her daily life as a zookeeper particularly taking caring of a pregnant giant anteater named Lucy. Lucy can be extremely dangerous and is considered to be a Code Red animal which means that she has the capabilities of killing. For Teddy, mashing up a banana in her hand and enticing Lucy to lick it with her long blue-tongue proves that Lucy is basically gentle if she is treated properly.
Life quickly changes when a dead body is discovered inside Lucy’s exhibit and Lucy has succeeded in ripping the skin off his bones with her four-inch long claws which are usually used tearing open logs to find and eat the insects nestling inside. Unfortunately, Teddy knows the victim as he was married to one of her former close-friends.
When another zookeeper is arrested for the murder, Teddy decides it is time for her to investigate this event as she truly believes this is a false arrest. During her investigation, Teddy reluctantly dates Barry Fields, the current zoo director in order to have access to information that might help. After Barry is found dead, the investigation seems to be more centered around Teddy unfortunately.
This book is just-plain fun to read. With the realism of the problems of zookeepers as well as the relationships and personalities of the critters, THE ANTEATER OF DEATH which borders on chic-lit, is a wonderful first book of a new series featuring Teddy.
I’m anxiously awaiting the next book in the series.
Betty Webb is a retired journalist, book reviewer, as well as an author of her Lena Jones series who lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Both Betty and Lena live there.) She relies on her previous varied experiences for background material for her characters that she creates. Each character has some of Betty with their backgrounds. I enjoy learning more about Betty through her books. Her varied experiences make for delightful reading.
REVIEWED BY TERI DAVIS
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