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The Anteater of Death (Gunn Zoo Mystery #1)

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  551 Ratings  ·  124 Reviews
If Lucy, the pregnant giant anteater from Belize, didn't kill the man found dead in her enclosure, who did? California zookeeper Teddy Bentley must find the real murderer before her furry friend is shipped off to another zoo in disgrace.
Then another human bites the dust, the monkeys riot, the wolves go nuts - and that's just the beginning. Teddy's father, on the lam from t
ebook, 270 pages
Published January 31st 2010 by Poisoned Pen Press (first published October 1st 2008)
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When the body of Grayson was discovered in the giant anteater’s enclosure with claw and scratch marks over him, the obvious conclusion was that Lucy had attacked him and ripped him to death. But Teddy Bentley, Lucy’s keeper, knew the pregnant anteater wouldn’t have killed Grayson. But worse was to come when one of the top keepers was arrested for his murder. Now Teddy knew there was something suspicious going on; and it was up to her to discover what it was.

The Gunn Zoo was home to a large varie
Richard Derus
Rating: 3.5* of five

The Book Description: But if Lucy, the pregnant Giant Anteater from Belize, didn't kill the man found dead in her enclosure, who did? California zookeeper Teddy Bentley must find the real murderer before her furry friend is shipped off to another zoo in disgrace.

Then another human bites the dust, the monkeys riot, and the wolves go nuts. Things get worse when the snooty folks at Gunn Landing Harbor attempt to evict Teddy from the Merilee, her beloved houseboat. That's just th
Book Concierge
Book on CD read by Hillary Huber

Zookeeper Theodora (Teddy) Bentley is responsible for the Gunn Zoo’s Giant Anteater, Lucy. When cleaning Lucy’s enclosure Teddy finds the body of a man. But Teddy is certain that he wasn’t killed by Lucy, and she has to prove it.

As cozy mysteries go, this is a pretty good one. A zookeeper is an interesting – and different – occupation for an amateur sleuth. Teddy’s life is complicated by a mother (Caro) who is a former beauty queen and socialite, and a father who
This is a very strong three; it's almost a four.

I don't know quite what to make of this book, to be honest. It has all sorts of things that normally push my buttons - central female is the only truly compentent women, she doesn't seem to have close female friends (though she claims otherwise), other women are jealous of her, tragic love and so on.

And yet, I finished it, and there were times when the book really swept me up. Those times when you read and don't realize that you have passed x numb
Mar 26, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animals, fiction
The plot of this book was engaging and clever. I did struggle a bit with many of the characters. They seemed flat, stereotypical, and unbelievable. I had to expend a little too much effort trying to sort through the tangled web of non-distinct characters...effort that I would have preferred to spend figuring out who the culprit was, or simply enjoying the story.

This book initially caught my attention because of the zoo setting. (I'm a zookeeper.) The author's grasp of daily behind-the-scenes zoo
Jan 05, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book for the anteater. Lucy (the anteater) is awesome, definitely one of the best animal characters I've read where the author is trying to show a real animal's thoughts and actions rather than anthropomorphizing them. Teddy (the human protagonist) is at her best when she's talking about her job as a zookeeper and the various animals she works with.

I was not nearly as enthralled with the human cast of characters. Teddy has a controlling mother and various relatives and acquaintances
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
Star rating: 2 Stars

After a prominent member of the Gunn Zoo's trust fund committee is found clawed up in the giant anteaters enclosure, blame falls squarely on Lucy the anteaters furry back. When it's concluded that a gun shot was what ultimately killed committee member Grayson, the head zookeeper Zorah is the first to fall under police scrutiny. Theodora 'Teddy' Bentley knows that her co-worker could never have harmed another human being, let alone kill one, so she sets out to find the real ki
Cute cozy mystery set at the zoo...
After giving this book some more thought I dropped a star from my initial rating, simply because it is definitely not as good as most of the books I give four stars.... what I like most about the book was the setting, I like the zoo and I like central California, both are interesting places with a lot of character... where this book was lacking for me was the character development, I didn't necessarily find any of the characters all that likable or well-develop
Zookeeper Teddy Bentley must fight off efforts by her wealthy, much-married mother to get her off her low-status job and out of her shabby houseboat, and into the high society life her mother thinks is the only proper way to live. When Teddy finds a corpse in the cage of Lucy, a pregnant giant anteater, she must defend her beloved animals from the threat of a callous new zoo head, and her best friend, another zookeeper, from a murder accusation. Her romantic history with the now-widowed local sh ...more
Juniper Shore
Jul 30, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, romance
So, our heroine works at a zoo, and apparently derives all her insights into human behavior from observing the zoo animals. Webb is obviously trying to draw parallels between humans and animals, but it just doesn't work. Sure, there's a lot of infidelity and intrasex competition in humans, but it doesn't manifest the same way it does in Mexican wolves or bears. In fact, the major problem with The Anteater of Death is that it keeps trying to force square human characters into round zoological hol ...more
Jun 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This is the first in a new series with protagonist Theodora "Teddy" Bentley, an heiress who has decided to become a zookeeper. She works, despite her family's disapproval, at a small private zoo on the central coast of California. One morning, Lucy the anteater discovers a human corpse in her enclosure, and is blamed for the death of one of the zoo's largest benefactors. Teddy is certain that Lucy is innocent, and sets out to prove it. Her efforts are complicated by her mother's unsubtle efforts ...more
Nathalie S
May 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book in the series "A Gunn Zoo Mystery" by Betty Webb starring Teddy Bentley as a California zookeeper. Each mystery involves a zoo animal in its story, this time, it is a pregnant Giant Anteater from Belize which is Teddy's main charge. I started with the second book, so I got to know more about the characters like Teddy's millionaire felon father who was on the lam in the second book but comes back to the US in the first. I just really enjoyed learning more about the animals ...more
Marja McGraw
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Anteater of Death by Betty Webb is the unique and wonderful story of Lucy, the pregnant anteater who’s accused of killing a man found in her enclosure. Okay, it’s actually the humorous story of Teddy Bentley who works at the zoo against her socialite mother’s wishes.

Teddy feels she needs to solve the murder or Lucy will be transferred out of the zoo. When there’s another death, it becomes apparent that Lucy didn’t commit the crime, but no one will listen to Teddy.

The behind-the-scenes storie
Norma Huss
Mar 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, favorites
The title is crazy, but it fits, actually. It is a zoo mystery, and I really liked it. The plot is full of unexpected twists, the characters are mostly known to each other (for generations) and quite individual. The suspense is right up there, along with enough humor to fit the title. But there is also suspense to keep the reader on the edge of her (or his) seat. The book starts and ends with a chapter in the anteater's viewpoint---quite a bit different than a human viewpoint. In between it's Te ...more
This was a fun mystery. I can not wait to share it with some of my library friends. There was enough adventure to hold my attention and yet it did not overwhelm the story. I liked that most of the story was set in a zoo. I thought I had pegged the murderer, but found out I was wrong. I missed one of the clues the author had given the reader. When I am in need of some "brain candy" I will seek out this author again in the future.
Aug 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mysterious
Not bad for the "cozy mystery" genre. This one features Teddy, a zookeeper at a medium-sized private zoo in middle California. She lives on a boat in a harbor, and her mom is filthy rich, and her dad is on the lam from the feds for conning folks out of money, and her boyfriend is the sheriff. The body that kicks off the investigation (and the book) is found in the Giant Anteater enclosure, thus the title. The writing isn't stellar, but it's far from terrible. I wouldn't call it a compulsive page ...more
Teddy Bentley is a zookeeper at the fictional Gunn Zoo in California. Teddy's main charge, a giant anteater, is very pregnant when a body is found in her enclosure. Teddy is recruited by her former boyfriend, sheriff Joe Rejas, to help investigate the murder. Teddy also has to deal with her fugitive father and a threat to her beloved houseboat. I liked the parts dealing with the animals in the zoo. I think the author tried to throw too many things into a fairly short book. I will read more in th ...more
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read book 2 in the series first. If I had started with this one, I probably would not have read more. It wasn't exactly predictable, but it just felt silly.
Jan 31, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Not particularly good book, but I did love the anteater. Plot okay, characters lifted from a soap opera but the setting was fun
Eileen Lynx
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fun series
Mar 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
This was ok but like a lot of cozy mysteries there was lots of description and not so much action.
Carl Brookins
Jan 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is the beginning of a new series for this veteran author. Just look again at the title. Somewhere in the back of my head there’s a Shakespeare quote. Ms. Webb is an accomplished writer with several excellent novels to her credit. This one is a distinct departure for her, and it seems she is almost unable to restrain herself. There are a great many asides and some tongue-in-cheek humor that sometimes distracts the reader from a rather thin plot, although the setting is intriguing and Webb us
May 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am surprised at how much I liked this story. I picked it up because its sequel The Koala of Death was the book I planned on reading to fulfill my K requirement for the A-Z fun challenge. I didn't want to read a second book of a series if the first was available, so I read this book.

The first chapter was a bit misleading because it was through the viewpoint of the anteater, Lucy. I was then expecting intermingling chapters of human-side story and whatever the anteater was thinking. Luckily, tha
For some reason I didn't like this book as much as the third book in this series (which I read/listened to first). I often listen to audiobooks while exercising and like books that I look forward to listening to, and that make me want to get out the door, or take an extra long run. I did not have the "I can't wait to listen to more of this" with this book. I did listen to Llama of Death while doing housework, so there may be some situational bias in my feelings.

With regards to this book, I enjo
Russell Atkinson
Feb 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: cozy mystery fans, animal lovers
In this cozy mystery our heroine, Teddy, is a zookeeper with a special relationship with the eponymous anteater of death, Lucy. Lucy is a giant anteater, a code red animal, meaning it is capable of killing a human. Indeed a dead man is found in her pen at the zoo, slashed by Lucy's four-inch claws. Although Lucy takes the blame at first, we soon learn the victim died of a gunshot wound. In due course the lecherous and sleazy zoo director is similarly dispatched. Eventually the head zookeeper, Te ...more
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the book we read for my mystery group this month and it's a book I got for free from Amazon some time ago. Anyway--I originally got it (because it was free) because I just thought it would be unusual to read about murder at the zoo. I thought it was a great cozy. It was quick to read and although some of it came across a little cheesy (like "hearing" what the anteater is thinking), I thought there was a lot of interesting information regarding how the animals were cared for, what they at ...more
JoAnne McMaster (Any Good Book)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shonna Froebel
Nov 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The main character here is Teddy (Theodora) Bentley, a zookeeper assistant at a private zoo in central California. The place setting is Gunn Landing, a upper-class community with environmental limits on further expansion. The leading family is, of course, the Gunns, headed by matriarch Aster Edwina, and though Teddy's family has lost most of their money, she is also from a privileged background.
Her mother is very class conscious and resents Teddy's choice of job, as she resented Teddy's choice o
Jennifer Collins
I'd absolutely recommend this to mystery readers who love animals. But, that said, I admit that it left something to be desired. There were times (especially in the beginning) where I almost felt as if the author was writing an adult story for a younger reader; in other words, things were just a bit too... cute? sweet? One way or another, I on more than one occasion had the impulse to roll my eyes at the main character. But, things did get better. I got more wrapped up in the story, and true to ...more
There is a dead body in the anteater enclosure, but did Lucy do it? All eyes point to this man going where he didn't belong, then being killed by a pregnant anteater. But, not so fast! Why was there blood? a bullet? Teddy has to find out what happened before the zoo removes the animal for good. With the help of Joe, the sheriff and her former boyfriend, Teddy reluctantly investigates the people she knows. What is the real story behind the murder and possible break up of the Gunn group? Can Teddy ...more
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As a journalist and literary critic for more than 20 years, Betty -- a resident of Scottsdale, Arizona, where her detective Lena Jones also lives -- has interviewed U. S. presidents, Nobel prize-winners, astronauts who’ve walked on the moon, polygamy runaways, the homeless, and the hopeless.

Now retired from journalism to write full time, she also contributes the Small Press column for Mystery Sce
More about Betty Webb...

Other Books in the Series

Gunn Zoo Mystery (4 books)
  • The Koala of Death (A Gunn Zoo Mystery, #2)
  • The Llama of Death: A Gunn Zoo Mystery (A Gunn Zoo Mystery, #3)
  • The Puffin of Death ( A Gunn Zoo Mystery, #4)

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