Category Archives: NaBloNoMo

Book Review: The Puffin of Death a Gunn Zoo Mystery

The-Puffin-of-Death-Catalog-180x276The Puffin of Death

Betty Webb

Theodora (Teddy) Bentley is off on an unwanted adventure. Her demanding boss at Gunn Zoo ordered her to fly to Iceland to pick up some animals that the Reykjavik Zoo is sending to live in California. Teddy is less than excited about the trip, but at least she has the Zoo credit card to pay for everything.

Iceland is an entirely different world than California – volcanos, ice flows, glaciers and a population that all seem to be related. Teddy is determined to make the best of her time there, viewing puffins in their native habitat as well as bonding with the orphaned baby polar bear she is bringing home to live at Gunn Zoo.

Teddy is staying with Bryndis, the zoo keeper that will help transition Magnus (the baby bear) as well as a pair of puffins and a pair of Icelandic foxes that will round out the new Northern Climes exhibit at Gunn Zoo. Bryndis is also a member of a band, giving Teddy an opportunity to experience night life in Iceland after the zoo is closed in the evenings.

While out enjoying the diverse island, Teddy accidentally stumbles upon a dead body. The puffin pecking at the corpse surely isn’t the murderer, but who would want to murder an American tourist?

Simon Parr, the corpse in question, is a member of a bird-watching group with millions of reasons people may want him dead. First of all, he is the all-time biggest lottery winner in history. He seems to have a snarky personality and most likely a lover or two that his wife may or may not know about.

Murders are rare in Iceland. But soon another bird-watcher from the group dies. Teddy doesn’t think it was an accident and finds herself in more hot water than she has bargained for. Even though she knows her fiancé Joe is too far away to help her and the local police have told her to keep her nose out of the murder investigations, she can’t help poking around, asking questions and irritating the remaining birders. Will she become the third victim?

I loved this book and Betty Webb’s writing style. It is a cozy mystery with lovable characters both human and animal. Teddy is flawed, makes bad choices when murderers are afoot and is easy to like. Her escapades are crazy, yet believable and that is what I find so endearing about her character.

Webb brings the flavor and people of Iceland to life for the reader without lecturing. She obviously did copious research to get the names, customs and environment correct. I also love the way she gives the reader an inside look at the animals and behind the scene info about zoos.

This is the fourth in her Gunn Zoo series. It was refreshing to have Teddy go to an exotic place to introduce new characters and keep the series fresh rather than have another murder within close proximity to her home. The Puffin of Death can easily be read as a stand-alone novel. There are a few references to the other books, but nothing that will be a spoiler if you read this one first – because I know you will want to read the rest of them as soon as you are finished.

Copyright © 2015 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review, books, cozy mystery, Iceland, Mystery, NaBloNoMo

Wandering Weekends: Morton’s Arboretum

This year we purchased a membership to Morton’s Arboretum in the Chicago suburbs. We’ve been there a few times and since both of us are really trying to exercise more, it seemed like pretty place with nice trails to get some of those miles in. Getting the pass was a no-brainer, if you go more that twice it is paid for and the membership is tax deductible – win/win in my book.

We were actually going to go last weekend, but Saturday it rained for hours and was cold. AND was Halloween. Not a good combo for walking among the trees. So this morning was a crisp 50 degrees with brilliant blue skies and sunshine. All set to enjoy the fall weather and colors in the trees, we grabbed the camera and headed out.

Remember the previous paragraph when I said it rained for hours the week before. I’ve lived in the Midwest my entire life and know better than to think those leaves would all still be hanging on the branches waiting for us to get around to seeing them. There were a few stragglers that were still colorful, but most of the trees were bare.

The walk was still delightful and it was easier to see birds, squirrels and even a coyote that was pretty far from us. Luckily my hubby has a lens on his camera that caught the coyote during his lunch of apparent mice in the field he was in.

Here are a few of the pictures, hope you all enjoy them

.DSC_0001

These leaves hung on until we got there!

DSC_0036

Crabapple Lake

DSC_0007

Hiding from other squirrels behind a tree. LOL

coyote

He is pretty far away – but that is ok with us.

Leave a comment

Filed under autumn, blogher, coyotes, leaves, NaBloNoMo, squirrels, Wandering Weekends, wildlife