Former zookeeper, Littlewood allows readers a rare peek at the inner workings of a small municipal zoo while creating an absorbing murder mystery. When Iris Oakley arrived at Vancouver, Washington’s Finley Memorial Zoo early one morning her attention was drawn to the elephant barn where she discovered coworker Kevin Wallace being mauled by one of the elephants. While law enforcement and zoo officials argue and chase their tails, Iris begins investigating on her own. She gradually uncovers a sinister plot involving trafficking animal parts, murder and more. To catch the perpetrator, Iris sets up a clever sting operation that just might be the death of her and her unborn child.
Littlewood’s latest engaging mystery will capture your attention from the start and doesn’t let go. While richly textured with lots of well-developed characters and setting, it is the thoughtful attention to the animals that really makes this book. One feels Iris’s attachment to an old tiger, the joy at witnessing the birth of endangered cloud leopard cubs and intimidation at the elephant’s size and the possibility of their going rouge. A joy for animal loving mystery buffs.