Clea Simon | Parrots Prove Deadly

Parrots Prove Deadly Cover

Parrots Prove Deadly

Parrots will repeat anything – they don’t talk sense. Or do they? When Pru Marlowe is called in to retrain a foul-mouthed African gray after its owner’s death, the bad-girl animal psychic can’t help hearing the bird’s words as a replay of a murder scene. But the doctor on call scoffs at the idea, and the heirs just want their late mother’s pet to quit cursing. With the only other possible witnesses being an evasive aide, the blind neighbor, and a single-minded service dog, Pru is stuck with what may be a feather-brained theory. Even her crotchety tabby Wallis doesn’t buy it, although she’s more than willing to “interrogate” the big bird, as Pru deals with drugs, jealousy, and a potential rabies outbreak in Parrots Prove Deadly, the third Pru Marlowe pet noir.

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From Parrots Prove Deadly:

Polly didn’t want a cracker. Polly didn’t want much of anything anymore. Polly Larkin, aka “Room 203,” had been dead several hours when her aide came to wake her, early on the morning of September third, and her days of haranguing the staff were done.

Nobody was surprised much by Polly’s demise, least of all the aide. That she’d toppled to the floor at some point in the night, knocking over her walker, was unfortunate, but not shocking. Polly had been sickly for as long as anyone could remember – sickly and stubborn, refusing requests that she stay in bed until her aide or a night nurse could be summoned – and at 84, nobody expected her to last much longer. But even an anticipated death sets off repercussions in the world of the living, and while the assisted living staff was handling the arrangements, I had to deal with the parrot.

Randolph Jones, that was the parrot’s name, and whether that was the deceased’s idea of a joke or a handle the old lady had inherited when she adopted the bird was not shared with me. What I did get was an urgent phone call from the daughter, begging me to call her back on a matter of utmost importance.

“Please.” The voice on the message gasped. “I need your help. It’s life or death.”