Giraffes and Tigers and Birds, Oh My!
Pleasantly penned by Lisa Shea, The Preening Peacock is a fun-filled and endearing cozy mystery that takes its readers on an invigorating day trip to the landmark Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, Massachusetts. And it is at the establishment's giraffe exhibit that we come meet our winsome protagonist Rosalinda Alameda, a 50-year-old native of Arecibo (Puerto Rico), zoo lover, and veterinarian receptionist.
Perplexed as to why the giraffes are missing from public display—which prevents her from snapping coveted photos of their statuesque beauty—Rosalinda proceeds to inquire of Kayla and Sarah, two young volunteer zoo workers who helpfully explain to her that the missing giraffes have been moved inside for safety reasons due to impending thunderstorms in the meteorological forecasts. Notwithstanding, the three women take an immediate liking to each other and continue to converse further, particularly about the heat and humidity of the August day, and the toenails of the peacocks and peahens which have mysteriously turned purplish in color when they should in fact be tan-toned.
Puzzled by the peacock toenail revelation, the insatiable animal lover who is Rosalinda probes further and asks Kayla and Sarah—after apprising them that she is in the business of veterinarian medicine—if it would be alright for her to have a look in order to "investigate" what the cause of the peacock toenail discoloration could possibly be. The two young ladies agree and proceed to escort our Rosalinda over to the Austrialian aviary where the cuckatoos, the colorful budgies, and the fabulously adorned peacocks and peahens hold court.
Now knowing, per Kayla and Sarah, that the aviary overseer Christian and his helper Mark drive a hard overprotective bargain where the exotic vertebrate are concerned, Rosalinda takes great caution in her dealings with the feathered friends. But after getting two shots of one particular peahen's toenails, a hostile Mark arrives at the exhibit and is none to pleased with the unmonitored actions of the three women, leading him to promptly contacts his boss, the equally unfriendly Christian. And no sooner than the more mature Ricky Martin look-a-like—to whom Rosalinda finds herself incredibly attracted—arrives on the scene, goings-on at the landmark Franklin Park Zoo of greater Boston begin to take a direly sinister turn.
Advancing to make the sharp-tongued, 50-ish-year-old hearthrob aware of her "invesigative diagnosis" as to what the reason might be for the peahen's purple toenails, Rosalinda finds herself rudely dismissed. But does this stop her inner sleuth from snooping further and sticking her petting hand into the Zoo's animal cookies jar? No, of course it doesn't.
Someone inhumane at the landmark Franklin Park Zoo of greater Boston is scientifically plundering, evading, and exploiting the bodies of the park's wildlife population—driving many of them towards extinction—in the hope of massive monetary gain. But just whom can that inhumane someone be?
You can discover the heartless culprit on the twenty-two pages of this enjoyable cozy zoo short story composed by the talented Lisa Shea.
An appreciable 45-minute read, The Preening Peacock—book 1 in the 7-book Cozy Zoo Short Story Series—is neatly detailed and impressive in its research of the zoological branch of biology. And true to the nature of its genre the narrative, though ephemeral, didn't fall short of infusing me with that old-fashioned sentiment of relaxed solitude. For the zoo lover in you, The Preening Peacock is a positively recommended read.
Five publicly exhibited stars.