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Killed at the Whim of a Hat (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Colin Cotterill

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3354732,882 (3.52)60
Member:AlaMich
Title:Killed at the Whim of a Hat
Authors:Colin Cotterill
Info:Minotaur Books (2011), Hardcover, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:fiction, mystery, Thailand, humor

Work details

Killed at the Whim of a Hat by Colin Cotterill (2011)

  1. 00
    The Dark Angel by Dominique Sylvain (charl08)
    charl08: Humorous crime in non-anglophone spaces.
  2. 00
    Mindfulness and Murder by Nick Wilgus (brianjungwi)
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Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
I was recommended this book by GoodReads, and I thought that it would be funny with a tricky little mystery. The setting is southern Thailand and the main character is an investigative journalist named Jimm Jurree. There are lots of eccentric and enjoyable characters in the book. Jimm's mother and grandfather, her transgender older sister, her younger body building brother and best of all a gay policeman named Chompu who becomes a friend and aly of Jimm's. Unfortunately, I liked all of these secondary characters much more than Jimm herself. Her sarcasm and distrust of most people is a bit hard to take after awhile. The mystery was ok, but I found that we were skipping all over the place whilst following Jimm and Lieutenant Chompu try to solve two unrelated murders - one may or not have been a murder, but it was from decades earlier and the other a recent murder of an abbot at a monastery close to Jimm's home. I have given the book three stars because of the secondary characters. They are very well done indeed. ( )
  Romonko | Aug 28, 2016 |
There is much talk these days of non-euro writers writing about other cultures (Bill Cheng's Southern Cross the Dog, and Aslan's history of early Christians, Zealot ).

Cotterill, on the other hand, is your typical euro, an Anglo-Austrialian who writes about another culture, one that he fills with English prototypes dressed as Asians: ambitious girl reporter, post-fling mother, virgin body-builder brother, gender-changing sister, etc.

Cotterill plays with Thai culture, teasing, poking fun, and smart-assesing himself through a pair of crimes. Think Carl Hiaasen in southeast asia.

The book is "fun," not much violence: only people already dead for years and a mangy dog are the victims. It sounds like it might accurately skewer modern Thailand, with the country sounding more westernized than Kansas but portrayed having a government out of Gilbert and Sullivan.

I give it two stars because it is not my kind of book, less a mystery than sardonic spoof, less a view of another culture than a satire. But if that is your coup of tea (Cotterill started out English-bred, you know), then you will love it.

PS I am sensitive to this issue (it has been pointed out to me several times) because I have done the same thing. I wrote Santo Gordo: A Killing in Oaxaca about southern Mexico, but I keep my main character an ex-pat, one who wonders at the country and people. I could not fit myself (or my characters) into the skin of a Oaxacan. I get the feeling Cotterill gets the Thai people to fit his ideas, not the other way around. ( )
  kerns222 | Aug 24, 2016 |
there are parts of this that are decent, maybe even good, but overall i am disappointed with this. the story was alright (although i feel there was no real intersection between the two mysteries and the resolution of them both was completely unsatisfactory) but the writing was loose and at times confusing. more importantly, the main character never felt right to me - mostly never felt female at all to me - and all the LGBTQ stuff seemed like it was only there for "comedy" (hey look at the gay guy, ha ha ha; the trans woman felt more respected to me although maybe that's just because i'm less sensitive to that). i like a good george bush joke as much as the next democrat, but i don't really see how all of the quotes fit in here; for a british author of a book that takes place in thailand, it was a bit out of place. overall major things seemed lacking to me in this one. ( )
  elisa.saphier | Feb 6, 2016 |
Mysteries are not generally my "thing". I need to be very interested in the "detective" (not usually an actual detective), the local and the "set up". I've enjoyed Catterill's Dr. Siri Paiboon series more than this one but it's still a fun read. ( )
  CydMelcher | Feb 5, 2016 |
Mysteries are not generally my "thing". I need to be very interested in the "detective" (not usually an actual detective), the local and the "set up". I've enjoyed Catterill's Dr. Siri Paiboon series more than this one but it's still a fun read. ( )
  CydMelcher | Feb 5, 2016 |
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Epigraph
Families is where our nation finds hope,
where wings take dream.

George W. Bush,
La Crosse, Wisconsin 18 October 2000
Dedication
In loving memory of Joan
First words
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.
Quotations
Acknowledgements: And before I go, I have been asked by the officers of the Pak Nam police station to point out that there are absolutely no homosexuals, latent or practising, employed in that establishment. I hope that's perfectly clear.
"Free societies are hopeful societies. And free societies will be allies against these hateful few who have no conscience, who kill at the whim of a hat."

George W. Bush
Washington DC, 17 September 2004
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312564538, Hardcover)

The launch of a brand new series by the internationally bestselling, critically acclaimed author of The Coroner’s Lunch
 
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.
 
One of Library Journal's Best Mystery Books of 2011

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:20 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Forced to relocate to rural Thailand with her eccentric family, crime reporter Jimm Juree fears that her career is over until the bodies of two hippies are discovered in a local farmer's field and a Buddhist abbot is murdered, a case that implicates a monk and a nun.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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