Poisoned Pen, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, Audio, CD
Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth
, by novice author Ann Littlewood, is a refreshingly new entry in the mystery scene. Protagonist Iris Oakley is a young zookeeper at the Finley Memorial Zoo in Vancouver, Washington. Not only do readers get an insider's view of the zoo scene, but they're also treated to a new idea of how to do in their next victim.
hen Iris' husband Rick is found drunk and mauled to death by the zoo's big cats, she is too upset by his apparent drinking - after swearing to her he would give up ingesting alcohol - to question the manner of his demise. As the enormous grief begins to subside, she starts asking questions. Questions that put her in danger. Several attempts have been made to silence her. She even suspects a job offer from a zoo in Los Angeles of being manipulated to remove her from the scene. Then, as though the sense of loss she experiences weren't enough, Iris is reassigned from being a feline keeper to the aviary – birds!
he care and feeding and breeding of the big cats is fascinating, though it does not detract from the theme of this mystery – the murder of Rick being foremost in Iris's and the reader's mind. The characters mesh well and suspicion is cleverly directed to each one. Pacing is also well done.
is a good book.
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