Bird, Bath, and Beyond
The mystery stars Kay Powell, theatrical agent for acting animals. She’s now repping a parrot who’s a supporting cast member of a TV procedural, playing the sidekick of a medical examiner on a show with zombie detectives.
When the gorgeous actor playing the doctor is found dead, shot, in his trailer, under the cage, the real-life detectives expect a talking bird to be able to help them, regardless of how many times they’re told that parrots simply repeat what they’ve been taught to say. That’s a clever twist, playing off of understandable human behavior, and it takes an unexpected turn that makes the mystery more challenging.
Suspects include the parrot’s owner, the episode’s director, the ambitious guest star, and the assistant director. Meanwhile, just to complicate things, Kay’s performing parents are facing a turning point in their career.
As in the first book, there’s plenty of interesting behind-the-scenes entertainment information, this time about the making of a TV show. Plus, I learned a lot about the care and maintenance of a pretty smart bird.
I enjoy reading Copperman mysteries because there’s lots of humor, keeping the mood light. Events move quickly, and they’re often satiric, as when the news crews show up at Kay’s house to find out whatever they can about the death of a TV star.
The author’s descriptions are great, particularly when it comes to the behavior of Kay’s three dogs, with their various personalities. Kay doesn’t set out to solve crimes, but she keeps being drawn into circumstances, as when she thinks to herself, in a paragraph that sums up the author’s approach:
Since we clearly weren’t going to talk about Mom and Dad’s professional future tonight — which was actually fine with me in my current state of exhaustion — we were apparently going to solve Dray’s murder. As long as I didn’t have to do it myself, that was okay. There wasn’t anything special on television.
Bird, Bath, and Beyond is a fun, escapist read particularly good for mystery fans who enjoy animals that behave like realistic animals.