I am happy to announce that zoo mystery #2, Did Not Survive, is wending its way through the production process and should emerge blinking into the sunlight in July. Here's the cover, which gives you a clue about one of the themes.
Yes! You guessed it--elephants! Night Kill was the first in the Finley Memorial Zoo series. In the second, Did Not Survive, circumstances put a pregnant Iris Oakley into close contact with the little zoo's two elephants. While she learns to appreciate these marvelous animals, the book also addresses some of the difficult issues around managing elephants in today's world. Zoos, sanctuaries, wildlife parks, the native habitat not in parks--all have tough problems with elephants. And,of course, elephants have disastrous problems with us. Our two species have yet to find peace, with an alarming number of deaths on both sides. (You know about elephants being killed wholesale for tusks. And elephants kill 200-300 people a year in India.)
While a mystery intended to entertain can't provide definitive answers, I tried to touch on many of the quandaries faced by those who admire and respect these fabulous beasts. Feelings run hot and sometimes bitter about elephants in zoos and I can't hope to please everyone, only to offer a variety of perspectives.
Now comes the part of a writer's cycle where the focus is on letting people know about The New Book. I'm contacting bookstores, libraries, and zoos. Let me know if your writing group or other organization would like to host a discussion of this "zoo-dunnit."