It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Clea Simon’s cat-centric murder mysteries. I knew I would enjoy Parrots Prove Deadly, the third in Simon’s Pet Noir series featuring pet behaviorist and psychic Pru Marlowe – I just didn’t realize just how much I would love it.

Pru is hired to retrain the parrot of a woman who has died in a retirement home. The parrot needs a new home, but isn’t likely to find one with the vocabulary of swear words he seems to have acquired, and the dead woman’s family is hoping that Pru can help. As Pru starts working with the bird, she is wondering whether some of the parrot’s words are a replay of the woman’s death, and whether that death could have possibly been a murder. The only other possible witnesses are a blind neighbor, her seeing-eye dog, and a non-commital health care aide. Pru can’t help herself: she begins to look into the woman’s death, and she gets drawn into a tangled web of family dynamics, possible land fraud, and a potential rabies outbreak.

With the help of her cantankerous tabby Wallis, a service dog names Buster, a gay bichon named Bitsy who insists that his real name is Growler, a ferret named Frank, and even a wild raccoon, Pru investigates the murder.

This book has a little bit for everyone. Animal lovers will enjoy Pru’s communications with the various animals. Mystery lovers will enjoy the wild ride Simon takes the reader on. The pace of this story never lets up, and I highly recommend that you don’t even start this book unless you have a good chunk of uninterrupted time ahead of you, because you’ll find it almost impossible to put down. Romance lovers will enjoy the developing on again, off again relationship between Pru and her detective boyfriend, who finds it exasperating that Pru turns up in the middle of a murder investigation yet again.

The thing I love best about reading series mysteries is the character development, and Simon is one of the masters at creating characters with depth and substance. She does not just do this for her human characters, this talent also extends to her animal characters. I’ve come to love Wallis in the first two books in the series, and I was happy that she’s even more involved in helping Pru solve the mystery in this book. I knew next to nothing about birds, and thoroughly enjoyed learning more about them through Simon’s portrayal of Randolph, the African Grey central to the story. With each book, I come to like Pru a little bit more as we get more insight into her life.

If you’re not familiar with Simon’s fiction, this book could be a great introduction. You can definitely read it as a stand alone, but why not treat yourself to all three books in the series. As with all series novels, part of the fun is not just in the story itself, but in revisiting the characters.

Clea Simon is the author of 12 mysteries and three non-fiction books, including The Feline Mystique – On the Mysterious Connection Between Cats and Their Women as well as several other nonfiction books. For more information about Clea, please visit her website or her blog.

I received an advance reading copy of this book from the publisher. Receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

21 Comments on Review: Parrots Prove Deadly by Clea Simon

  1. As a owner of a Alexandrine parakeet “MITTOO” since 1992 i do know that parakeets are very intelligent birds let alone the “Grey African Congo” parrot, considered the best talker with reasoning power.Google “Alexandrine parakeet Mittoo” and find out his unique parakeet specialities as documented by me, his owner/ trainer.Thanks for the review of the book “Parrots prove deadly”. Till now i didn’t know that mystery books were being written based on household pets.

      • Clea, its nice getting a reply from you, the author of the book.Since “Mittoo” has been with me for the last 21 years i have managed to document his life. He is like a small child, likes to make mischief. His favourite mischief is nipping at the shirt and pant buttons kept on the clothes drying line in the gallery when left from his cage for his daily exercise in the enclosed house gallery.Bizarre, he loves doing this and hence we are careful with our clothes when he is left for his daily romps in the gallery.Read about him in :-

  2. Hi Paulette,
    The e-book version should be available soon! I’m sorry there’s been a delay, but thank you for reading!

  3. I love all of Clea Simons books. Was so glad to see a 3rd in the pet noire series. I immediately tried to order it for my nook, but so far it is not available like the rest of her books .

    • Hi again Paulette,
      For what it’s worth, my newest Dulcie mystery – “True Grey” – is now available for Nook! Don’t know if you’ve read that yet. And I promise, “Parrots Prove Deadly” will be available soon.

        • So glad to hear it, Paulette! The next, “Grey Dawn,” will be out this spring and I’m working on the next one now (or I would be if I weren’t playing with the Internet).

  4. It sounds like a really cool book that I would enjoy. Thank you for your in-depth review, Ingrid!

  5. I’ve not heard of these books but I will definitely look to getting them. Don’t know but if your a fan of cats and mysteries you have to read Lillian Jackson Braun who wrote “The Cat Who…” series. I have every book she ever wrote and have read them several times.

  6. This book and author sound fabulous. I had never heard of them before. Great review and hope to get to read one soon.

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