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The Puffin of Death: A Gunn Zoo Mystery    by Betty Webb order for
Puffin of Death
by Betty Webb
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

The Puffin of Death proved to be extremely interesting to me. I have a friend who is from Iceland, which has approximately 350,000 residents. It has caught on in the tourist trade and is now the place to go.

Zookeeper Theodora Bentley travels to Iceland to bring a polar bear cub back to the Gunn Zoo in the States. The Zoo is planning a Northern Climes exhibit. She will be there for several days and has been told she can do some touristy things if she finds the time. Unfortunately, her free time is spent trying to solve a murder.

One of a group of American birdwatchers is found shot in the head beside a puffin burrow. The puffin is a very prolific bird in Iceland (and yes, it had been eaten there until it was realized that puffins' numbers are diminishing.) Icelandic policeman Thorvaald Haraldson doesn't much welcome Teddy's help but will tolerate it since she is an American and can probably help him in his investigation of the American birders.

The mystery is a good one with lots of twists and turns to hold readers' interest. Author Betty Webb's books have always intrigued me. I do enjoy her zoo themes and she has some really good books to her credit. And I appreciated all her references to Iceland the language, history, topography, their festivals, as well as the welcoming people themselves.

Another member of the birding group is murdered and Teddy herself just misses being taken out by a rock slide. She tags along with the birders as they visit volcanoes, glaciers, and deep continental rifts. She feels an earthquake as well as a volcano's eruption. An exciting trip for her!

I finished The Puffin of Death with a feeling of regret that I have not been to Iceland (Would love to go. My age and daughters say no.) This book is the next best thing to a trip there. A good Christmas present for those friends who still suffer from itchy feet.

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