Summary and book reviews of Killed at the Whim of a Hat by Colin Cotterill

Killed at the Whim of a Hat

A Jimm Juree Mystery, #1

By Colin Cotterill

Killed at the Whim of a Hat
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  • Hardcover: Jul 2011,
    320 pages.
    Paperback: May 2012,
    384 pages.

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Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

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Book Summary

With worldwide critical acclaim, Colin Cotterill is one of the most highly regarded "cult favorite" crime writers today. Now, with this new series, Cotterill is poised to break into the mainstream. Set in present day rural Thailand, Cotterill is as sharp and witty, yet more engaging and charming, than ever before.

Jimm Juree was a crime reporter for the Chiang Mai Daily Mail with a somewhat eccentric family - a mother who might be drifting mentally; a grandfather - a retired cop - who rarely talks; a younger brother obsessed with body-building, and a transgendered, former beauty pageant queen, former older brother. When Jimm is forced to follow her family to a rural village on the coast of Southern Thailand, she's convinced her career - maybe her life - is over. So when a van containing the skeletal remains of two hippies, one of them wearing a hat, is inexplicably unearthed in a local farmer's field, Jimm is thrilled. Shortly thereafter an abbot at a local Buddhist temple is viciously murdered, with the temple's monk and nun the only suspects.

Suddenly Jimm's new life becomes somewhat more promising - and a lot more deadly. And if Jimm is to make the most of this opportunity, and unravel the mysteries that underlie these inexplicable events, it will take luck, perseverance, and the help of her entire family.

Excerpt
Killed at the Whim of a Hat

"Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream."

- GEORGE W. BUSH, LACROSSE, WISCONSIN, 18 OCTOBER, 2000

 

Old Mel hired one of Da's nephews - the slow-witted one with the dent in his forehead - to sink a well in his back acre. The irrigation trenches his family had dug between the rows of oil palms didn't extend to the rear fence and the new fronds were browning even before they fanned open. It hadn't rained for a month. Mel had been lugging watering cans out there for two weeks and his back bones were starting to clack like mah-jong tiles. So, a well, a cheap Chinese pump, half a dozen sprinklers, and all he'd need to do was flick a switch. Oil palms took care of themselves if you watered them often and gave them manure treats once every three months. Twenty palms saved without crippling his spine. Cheap at twice the price.

So, on Saturday last, Old Mel sat on the top rung of the back fence and watched the young man work. The ...

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Reviews

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Cotterill's wry, irreverent sense of humor is a drone missile that quietly cruises from page to page, taking no prisoners. In varying degrees, everybody and everything is fair game. In short, this is my kind of book. So much so that while reading it I stopped several times to recite passages aloud to my husband.   (Reviewed by Donna Chavez).

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Media Reviews
Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. [Cotterill] combines a wry narrative voice with an appealing picture of a world unfamiliar to most Americans.

Library Journal

Starred Review... outstanding series debut... It's not just about Thailand; Cotterill understands people and writes subtle humor like a master.

Booklist

Starred Review. Cotterill combines plenty of humor with fascinating and unusual characters, a solid mystery, and the relatively unfamiliar setting of southern Thailand to launch what may be the best new international mystery series since the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

Reader Reviews
Soosi Day

New series But All Cotterill
This book got a head start in Asia and, being a devout Cotterill fan, I got it as soon as it was out in Hong Kong. Though surprised to find a new protagonist, and a woman at that, I immediately was drawn in by the dry wit and unusual events and ...   Read More

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Thailand's Political Turmoil

In Colin Cotterill's Killed at the Whim of a Hat, protagonist Jimm Juree makes this tongue-in-cheek assessment of Thailand's political climate:

"Politics used to be a lot more complicated before the recent introduction of the English Premiership system of colored shirts, which helped no end to know who was who. The yellows, headed by a media magnate, and backed discreetly by the military, were locked in battle with the red shirts, mostly from the north, backed by an ex-football club owner, ex-prime-minister, ex-telecommunications czar, ex-policeman currently in exile. It was a matter of time before we got the black and white stripe and the pink polka dot factions."

Red Shirt Revolt In the last three hundred plus years, Thailand - a ...

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