Sick As A Parrot (Grace Smith Investigations)
Adopted at birth, Hannah Conti's attempts to trace her family turned up a mother convicted of murder twenty years ago. Convinced that her mother is innocent, Hannah hires Grace to prove it.
Glad of any chance to get out of the office (the boiler's broken and the plumber can't come until next July) Grace uncovers the story of the very messy murder of Trudy Hepburn - a teacher at St. Martin's Comprehensive. Along the way she's obstructed by a lot of people who'd rather she stopped digging - including an ambitious policeman and his pushy wife, the 'handyman', the ex-leader of the school alpha males, and Hannah's grandparents.
On Grace's side (or possibly not) is an ex-copper with a shady past (and even shadier present) and Betterman, a mysterious emailer who keeps sending tantalising clues regarding what was happening at the school two decades ago. To add to these complications, she's been conned into bird-sitting a psychotic parrot and Terry Rosco, the most chauvinistic cop in Seatoun, is homeless and keeps trying to move into Grace's spare room. And, oh yes - someone keeps trying to kill her.
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Competitiveness in the Real Economy: Value Aggregation, Economics and Management in the Provision of Goods and Services