Gr 5-8--Nick and Marta live in dread of Bunny Starch, the biology teacher. When Smoke, the class loner, gets on her bad side, Mrs. Starch makes him write "five hundred words on the history of the pimple." During a field trip to Black Vine Swamp, where illegal oil-drilling is taking place, the teachers disappears and all fingers point to Smoke. Although an unsigned note is found explaining that the teacher had a family emergency, Nick and Marta suspect foul play and work with Smoke to solve the mystery. Along the way they encounter crooked oilmen, an eccentric millionaire ecologist, and get a glimpse of an endangered panther and her cub. This eco-mystery (Knopf, 2009), set in Florida, is permeated with Carl Hiaasen's wonderfully quirky characters, and Ed Asner's raspy narration plays each of them to the hilt. He voices the crisp harshness of Mrs. Starch, the lazy drawl of the adults, and the voices of the youngsters with ease. His performance is marvelous and his perfect pacing plays up the story's humor while the ecological message is incorporated as a subtle part of the tale. A real gem.--Tricia Melgaard, Centennial Middle School, Broken Arrow, OK[Page 58]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.