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Explore Iceland in Betty Webb’s newest mystery The Puffin of Death
October 16, 2015
The Puffin of Death: A Gunn Zoo Mystery by Betty Webb Pub date: November 3, 2015
California zookeeper Theodora Bentley travels to Iceland to pick up an orphaned polar bear cub destined for the Gunn Zoo’s newly installed Northern Climes exhibit. The trip is intended to be a combination of work and play. But on day two, while horseback riding near a picturesque seaside village, Teddy discovers a man lying atop a puffin burrow, shot through the head. The victim is identified as American bird-watcher Simon Parr, winner of the largest Powerball payout in history. Is Teddy a witness—or a suspect? Others include not only Parr’s wife, a famed suspense novelist, but fellow members of the birding club Parr had generously treated to their lavish Icelandic expedition. Hardly your average birders, several of them have had serious brushes with the law back in the States. Guessing that an American would best understand other Americans, police detective Thorvaald Haraldsson grudgingly concedes her innocence and allows Teddy to tag along with the group to volcanoes, glaciers, and deep continental rifts in quest of rare bird species. But once another member of the club is murdered and a rockfall barely misses Teddy’s head, Haraldsson forbids her to continue. She ignores him and, in a stunning, solitary face-off with the killer in Iceland’s wild interior, concludes an investigation at once exotic, thrilling, and rich in animal lore.
The Puffin of Death is an amazing novel that will leaves both animal lovers and mystery buffs begging for more. Set against the gorgeous and varied backdrop of Iceland, The Puffin of Death proves once more that Betty Webb is a writer who offers mystery lovers a solid puzzle and gets the details right, both about the animals and the setting.
Theodora Bentley travels to Iceland intending to pick up an orphaned polar bear cub for the Gunn Zoo’s newest exhibit. Her intents are to work with the zoo staff on preparations and do some sight-seeing. Unfortunately, on an excursion to view a puffin rookery, Teddy discovers the dead body of an American bird-watcher, Simon Parr. She recognizes Simon as the winner of the largest Powerball payout in history, as well as the drunk who caused a commotion both on her flight to Iceland and in the bar the night before. A number of friends (and ex-lovers) from Simon and his wife Elizabeth’s birding group are touring Iceland on Simon’s tab, but that doesn’t mean he was universally liked. He had a way of stepping on people’s toes, particularly after becoming rich.
Murder is a rarity in Iceland, and having been successful previously, Teddy becomes entangled in the investigation, much to the frustration of Detective Thorvaald Haraldsson. As she explores the beautiful and diverse landscape of hills, volcanoes, and glaciers, she questions her fellow Americans in hopes of pinpointing a murderer before she returns home with her animal charges.
The Gunn Zoo mysteries are wonderful books, and The Puffin of Death is a terrific addition to their number. If you are looking for a present for an animal or mystery lover, look no further.
The Puffin of Death is available for preorder and will be released November 3, 2015.
I received a copy of The Puffin of Death from the publisher and netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.