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puffin of death book coverReviewed by Caleb Shadis

What mystery fan couldn’t pick up a novel titled The Puffin of Death? I had to try it just because of that title. This cozy mystery is the fourth book in the Gunn Zoo Mystery series and takes place in Iceland.

Teddy Bentley is sent to Iceland to bring back a polar bear cub, a couple of foxes and a pair of Puffins. She’s not looking forward to it since she’s a California girl and the thought of a place named after Ice is not at all appealing. The country and its people, however, quickly change her mind about spending time there.

The Icelandic zoo giving the polar bear is a small one with no facilities to care for a full grown adult bear so they are sending the cub off before it becomes more difficult. Her plane ride over is unfortunately disrupted by a loud and belligerent man who gets in a fight with another. Later, Teddy sees the same man again in a bar where after being extremely rude to the woman he is with, he is slapped silly by one of the locals who doesn’t wish to put up with that kind of behavior. The next time she sees him, he is dead, with a bullet hole in his head.

Icelanders don’t shoot each other. So the saying goes, and it’s mostly true. Americans, however, do, and so the suspect list is pretty narrow–primarily the Americans in his party, Teddy and the man in the bar who slapped him around. As Teddy gets to know the people in the party, she has a couple near death occurrences and someone else is bumped off.

Teddy is warned off by the police detective, Thor, to stay out of it and by extension stay safe. She truly intends to follow this advice but circumstances make a liar out of her.

I really enjoyed this book. The main character Teddy reminded me a lot of Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Milhone–spunky with curiosity that tends to get her into trouble. She’s fairly knowledgeable about birds (the group of Americans were there on a birding trip) and seems to be a likable person. I have already put the first three books of the series on my wishlist! The Puffin of Death is a great cozy mystery. It’s fun, lighthearted and I was a little surprised about who-dun-it.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Caleb is a software engineer and amateur woodworker living in southern Minnesota. He has more hobbies than he has time or money for, and enjoys his quiet time reading.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Betty Webb. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.