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

by Colin Cotterill

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2824039,987 (3.63)54
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

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

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I have read most of the Dr. Siri series by Colin Cotterill and really enjoyed them. Cotterill has a sly sense of humour and a grasp of the ridiculous that really appeals to me. The Laotian setting of that series was an added bonus. So when I saw that he had a new series starring a female journalist in Thailand I snapped it up. I’m not at all disappointed in this new setting.Jimm Jurree is thirty-something and working as a crime reporter in Chiang Mai when her world falls apart. Her mother, Mair, who may be on the verge of senility, has sold the small shop where the family lives and bought a beach resort in Maprao province in the southern part of Thailand. Jimm, her brother Arny and their grandfather, Grandad Jah, accompany Mair to the resort because they can’t imagine letting Mair go alone. Only the oldest child, Sissi, who used to be a male but changed her gender, stayed in Chiang Mai to run her computer business. Jimm spends her days cooking for the family and any guests who managed to find the small resort. She is convinced her life and career are over. Then comes the news that a VW bus has been found buried deep under a local farmer’s field complete with the skeletons of two people. As the only reporter within miles Jimm has a scoop and she makes the most of it. At police headquarters she meets Lieutenant Chompu, an intelligent officer who has been relegated to this remote region because he is gay. Jimm and Chompu team up to investigate the VW van case. Then an abbot is murdered in a nearby Buddhist temple and Jimm is in crime journalist heaven. Grandad Jah also proves useful in these investigations. He was a traffic cop for 40 years but only because he refused to take bribes; he actually has a sharp mind for investigations.The cast of minor characters is chock full of interesting people. Arny is a body builder with a heart of marshmallow. Mair may be going senile but she still has enough wits to frighten the local villain into going straight. The Buddhist nun who lives at the temple used to be a renowned singer before she gave up that life to follow her one great love into religious life. The title comes from a speech that George W. Bush made in 2004: “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.” Each chapter in this book is headed up by a Bush quote and each is as profound as that one. They also have some connection to what happens in the ensuing chapter and it is really fun to figure out Cotterill’s meaning. Jimm took a course on public speaking and had to do a final paper on Bush’s style so she is an expert on his speeches. Personally I think Cotterill heard or read that speech and decided to build a book around it. Who could resist? ( )
  gypsysmom | Apr 4, 2015 |
This book, by the author of the Dr. Siri mysteries, took me by surprise at first. It takes place in present-day Thailand, with a young female protagonist, Jimm Juree. At first I was a bit thrown off by Jimm’s character, written with more gushing female teenager angst than I would expect from someone who is supposed to be older. But once I accepted the style of the writing, I was hooked on the nutty plot and knew I was immersed in a Cotterill novel. As always, the ancillary characters—family members, police officers, monks, dogs—are given full steam and allowed to develop at their own paces. And Cotterill includes some hilariously witty political quotations (like the book title itself), all of which are apropos to the story. Well done. I eagerly look forward to reading the next Jimm Juree mystery. ( )
  jennorthcoast | Feb 25, 2015 |
Very fun and funny! Good reader, too. I think it would be even better if I was more familiar with rural Thailand. My listening was a little disjointed as I was on vacation part of the time. I think it would be better if I was more consistent in my listening. I do love the family. It will be fun to see where the series goes. I look forward to reading more by Colin Cotterill. ( )
  njcur | Apr 22, 2014 |
Very enjoyable. ( )
  eckchick | Feb 6, 2014 |
What a great title for this,the first in a new series of crime novels featuring Jimm Juree. Set in Thailand,it tells of one of the oddest murderers I've ever come across. We also meet Jimm's strange and appealing family and her equally strange police contacts.
Like many other Cotterill readers I was dismayed that this latest book was not one in the Dr Siri series but not to worry,this is every bit as good. ( )
  devenish | May 12, 2013 |
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:30:53 -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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