Eventually, of course, that hidden cockatoo does come creeping out of the woodwork of this creaky little mystery. But first you have to get a full dosage of Atmosphere--romantic New Orleans (at least it isn't Mardi Gras time), a fortuneteller named Madame Lala and her pet crow which is apt to quote ""Watch out,"" a presumed ghost, a session at the wax works--all swallowed up by the heroine Pam Peters with ponderous, humorless seriousness. Pam is visiting her New Orleans aunt because she wants to get away from her four younger brothers and sisters but her friend Felicity, who is all too completely alone, points up Pam's dependence on her family--and the Author's Message is stridently inserted. The jeweled cockatoo pin, which the girls know has to be hidden in the house where Pam's aunt lives, turns out to have been stashed in the fireplace--not very surprising since the fireplace was known to be the only part of the house which hadn't been rebuilt, and the mystery is why the competing sleuths are so stupid about it all. Even mystery-addicted girls should give Cockatoo the bird.