Even for zookeepers, some animals are more equal than others. Don't get Hannah started on pandas - all the attention they get makes the Small Mammals staff feel a little second-class. But sometimes playing favorites can be a deadly game: After a lemur falls ill and dies, the lemur-feeding study being conducted by Marshall, the zoo nutritionist, comes to an abrupt end when he's found bludgeoned to death in the halls of the Small Mammal House. Did the lemur's keeper kill Marshall in revenge, believing he accidentally poisoned her favorite animal? At a place like the zoo, that motive seems plausible, till a second lemur gets sick in the same way. And when it's suggested that something might have been deliberately added to medication that Hannah administered herself, now it's personal, and she's determined to figure out who's to blame.
Or start with volume 1:
"A wombat," I said dreamily, almost to myself. I knew we'd never get a wombat. A wombat was a lousy exhibit. It would sleep all day and take up a lot of space with nothing interesting for visitors to see. A big snoozing mound of fur that might as well be a stuffed animal. "Waste Of Money Brains And Time," Margo had sneered.
"A wombat!" Allison exclaimed, jolting me out of my marsupial reverie. "What a splendid idea."
I surreptitiously pinched myself. Surely this was some kind of crazed zookeeper fantasy dream, where the director swoops down and gives you the animal you've always longed to work with. I was sure that in a minute I'd wake up and go into work and tell people about it, and I'd find out that everyone had had this dream, like we'd all had the dreams of our animals getting out, or those moments where we woke up in the middle of the night, positive we'd left some shift door in the wrong position.
Like everyone else who writes for newspapers, I really want to be a novelist. My first mystery, The Sloth’s Eye, was published by Five Star. Hey, Kirkus says it's "far more amusing than you'd expect"! And read the lovely and insightful reviews at Mysterious Reviews and ZooNews Digest.
Click here to read the first chapters.
And read my guest post on Omnimystery News.