The Case of the Noisy Parrot

Photo credit: Raymund James Bare

The talkative parrot who shows up near the end of A Plain Vanilla Murder has developed his own personal following, it seems. Maybe  you remember him from the book.

His name is Mr. Spock. China Bayles describes him as “a stunning green parrot with an orange beak and splashes of red and blue under his wings.” She doesn’t say so, but Spock appears to be an Eclectus parrot, a native of New Guinea.

A current resident at Mrs. Birkett’s house, Mr. Spock previously lived with a Star Trek fan, and has a quite remarkable vocabulary of Trekkie-inspired phrases, obviously gleaned from long hours of binge-watching. There’s Live long and prosper, of course. Logic is good, naturally (as well as a parrot-patter of rhyming words: logical, astrological, psychological, pathological). Set phasers to stun. And (inevitably) Make it so. 

The problem: Mrs. Birkett finds Mr. Spock too noisy for her quiet little house, so Spock is looking for his forever home. Several of his fans have written to tell me they would love to adopt him, a couple of people suggested zoos that might be interested in acquiring a chatty parrot, and a pet-shop owner volunteered to give him a starring role in an online feature. Mr. Spock is grateful for all the attention (he had no idea he would was going to appear in a book). But he wants all his friends to know that Caitlin (China’s niece and adopted daughter) has claimed him. As you know, Caitie is dedicated to her own personal flock of chickens. It was easy for her to fall in love with a parrot.

So it was fun for me when I was writing yesterday (between frequent visits to the television to watch Congressional testimony in the case of the suppressed whistleblower complaint) to have another close encounter with Mr. Spock, this time at China’s house. It turns out that–in addition to the familiar Trekkie phrases–this parrot is also adept in Klingon curses. Who knew?

The project I’m currently working on is the second novella in the Pecan Springs Enterprise series, featuring Jessica Nelson, the newspaper’s intrepid crime reporter (scheduled for early 2020 publication). If you’re interested in the further adventures of Mr. Spock, you can catch up with him there. But since there’s been so much interest in his future, I thought you’d like to know that he has a new home, and a happy one.

Boldly go. Warp speed. Engage!



21 comments on “The Case of the Noisy Parrot

  1. It is so fun to hear that characters – of whatever species – just sometimes appear without having been imagined or planned for in a book. I am mystified and delighted at that, and it sounds like you are, too. I have read most of your books and would be at a loss to identify a favorite. Thank you for the many, many hours of enjoyment. If Beatrix Potter were still around, I think you would be besties. Your ability to create whole intricate worlds is a marvel and I never tire of any of them. The Spock connection will be a whole new dimension of fun.

  2. I have loved all your different series. I found the Robin Paige series first, then worked my way through the rest and they are all delightful. It amazes me that you can write such different settings and characters and make them all so fascinating. The Darling Dahlias was the last and I wasn’t sure I would like them but they turned out to be great favorites and I hope there will be more to come. I really enjoyed meeting Mr. Spock and am glad he has a forever home where he just might show up again in another China book.

  3. You’re so right about the traffic and the changes in the last 100 years. A friend of mine from England messaged me last night and told me to just read the books and forget about an actual visit, that the quaint towns are no longer quaint and cozy and she did not think I would like it.

    I enjoyed your Robin Paige books so much that I bought an extra copy of each one and donated them to our local library.
    They’ve been a hit! I’m reading them again now. I love the main characters and the story lines. It’s a great, well written series! Thank you both for writing these.

    I’m looking forward to your next book!

  4. So glad you’ve enjoyed Robin Paige’s work, Kathryn. If you do decide to visit the Lakes and other book sites, please remember that times have changed since the early 1900s. The last time we went to England, the roads were so clogged it was difficult to get around. We wanted to visit the town where Bram Stoker lived when he was creating Dracula, but there were literally no parking places left in town (a vampire conference, on a bank holiday). Fictional tours are sometimes more rewarding than real ones. 🙁

  5. I love Mrs Tiggywinkle and all of the animal characters in the Cottage Tales! I’m so glad that she popped in to the first book. I have them all, as well as all of your other books.
    You have given me a strong desire to visit the Lake District in England, Susan, as well as the areas in your books by “Robin Paige”. I think it would be a grand trip, as you’ve “painted” the scenery so beautifully.

    I’m also looking forward to reading more about Mr. Spock.

    Live long and prosper!

  6. Sounds like Mr. Spock is going to be a wonderful addition to China’s exploits! Can’t wait to get the latest book and read about him. Really wish Pecan Springs was closer than the Texas Hill Country, love that wonderful town and its residents.

  7. This post made me so happy. A Trekkie parrot, adopted by Caitlyn. I love living in this parallel universe you’ve created.

  8. To be honest, I don’t know where Mr. Spock came from, either, Peggy. I was in the second or third draft of that scene (China and Mrs. Birkett), and he suddenly showed up. That happened in the Cottage Tales, too, when Mrs. Tiggywinkle popped into the first book and changed the entire direction of the series. Fun for me, certainly.

  9. I just finished “A Plain Vanilla Murder” and loved it! Mr. Spock was a delightful new “character.” I was thinking maybe he would end up with Chelsea, the little girl, who was captivated by him, but going to Caitlin is much better because we can see more of him. I don’t know where he came from, but it was a delight! Can’t wait to hear more of Jessica’s exploits!

  10. Gee, my daughters went to the Spanish language camps (Concordia) in NW Minnesota. If only I had known that they had a Klingon camp, too! I might have gone there while the girls were learning Spanish! 🙂

  11. I was “owned” by a female Eclectus parrot . The females have a gorgeous red with blue coloration. Thanks for including this wonderful species in the book. I have a special fondness for all the animal characters in the China series.

  12. Love all of your books but Mr. Spock in China’s home will be such a joy to read about. Love the idea.

  13. While I have yet to read your latest book, I already love the tale of Mr. Spock. Very clever! As part of the Trekkie generation, I can’t wait for my borrowed library copy of the book. So glad he has found a new home. Will references to Star Wars appear in one of your next books?
    “Make it so.”

  14. I was using some of those curses myself yesterday. I learned them in 1993 when I did research for an article on the Klingon Language Camp in northwestern Minnesota.

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