Poisoned Pen, Sep 2008, $24.95
At the Finley Memorial Zoo in Vancouver, Washington, husband and wife Iris Oakley and Rick Douglas are zoo keepers; her specialty is big cats while his is the reptiles. They argue over his excess drinking and he promises are to stop.
Soon afterward, Rick is torn apart in the lion lair. The police decide an accident occurred due to alcohol. Iris is irate that he already broke his promise to her even as she mourns her loss. Concerned about a grieving Iris and knowing her new “ghost” haunts her current assigned location, the zookeeper transfers Iris to the aviary house over her objection and that of the chief bird-keeper. While some cronies suspect Iris killed her husband for his insurance; a tiger incident that almost left her dead has Iris wondering if someone wants to kill her and probably murdered Rick although she has no idea why.
Feeling like a woman in peril for good reason and not trusting anyone since her late husband let her down while used going alone in the working with the big cats, Iris does her own snooping in a fascinating setting, the background to a zoo. Ironically readers will know who the killer is long before the heroine does as her biggest obstacles to the truth are her peers who demand she leave. Although the sleuthing is relatively simplistic, readers will root for Iris who believes she must depend on no one as everyone could be her wannabe killer.