Saturday, October 29, 2011
Did Not Survive by Ann Littlewood
Iris Oakley arrives at her job as a zookeeper to a horrific sight. Her boss, Ken Wallace, is in the elephant's enclosure, lying face down and still as the big animals roll him from side to side. Iris, whose husband was killed by the big cats only months before and who is on lighter duty due to being pregnant, calls the police.
At first it is thought that the elephants have killed him, which causes dismay among the zoo personnel. But soon an even uglier truth emerges. Wallace was not killed by the elephants, but struck over the head and left to die in their habitat. There is a killer loose in the zoo.
Iris is determined to help the police find the killer. There are lots of suspects. There are the zoo protesters, who hate the very idea of the zoo. There is the new zoo veterinarian who seems to have secrets in her past. New zookeepers have come to work recently and they don't seem to be fitting in well with the existing staff. Then there are the other issues. Animals are disappearing and zoo staff are having strange things happen to them; events that could be precursors to another murder. Can Iris discover what is going on before someone else loses their life?
Did Not Survive is recommended for mystery lovers. Iris is an engaging protagonist, spunky in her determination to overcome the fate life has served up to her, leaving her pregnant and widowed at an early age. The plot is intricate enough to please puzzle solvers, with enough action to keep the pace of the book brisk. Readers will be eager to try additional titles by Littlewood after finishing this one.