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Grandad, There's a Head on the Beach: A Jimm…

Grandad, There's a Head on the Beach: A Jimm Juree Mystery (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Colin Cotterill

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1331990,390 (3.5)45
Title:Grandad, There's a Head on the Beach: A Jimm Juree Mystery
Authors:Colin Cotterill
Info:Minotaur Books (2012), Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:2013, Literary Lit (books in book)
Tags:Thailand, monsoon, Burmese slaves, mystery, AD, 13 in 13

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Grandad, There's a Head on the Beach by Colin Cotterill (2012)



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This is the second Jimm Juree novel, and while Cotterill seemed slow to develop his style in the first novel—Killed at the Whim of a Hat—here he has no problem. From page 1, he’s off and running with the current breathless, youthful style of short sentences, sentence fragments, funny digressions, and wonderfully timely and imaginative metaphors. And he still manages to embed political commentaries and human rights issues that affect Thailand today, but without being obvious or preachy. This plot (and subplot and another subplot) has many LOL moments and long, drawn-out chuckles in store for you. The words “farce” and “ridiculous” will keep cropping up in your mind, yet it all fits, and there’s even a surprise ending (so I advise not reading ahead). And of course, the karaoke . . . well, you’ll just have to experience it yourself. Read this book! ( )
  jennorthcoast | May 14, 2015 |
Book 2, in the Jimm Juree Mysteries

If humour is the essence we find here no shortage of it, actually we have plenty to make us laugh, a bit too much for my taste but again this is Colin Cotterill, a prolific and eccentric crime writer and cartoonist who is more than able to produce stories that will certainly throw us off guard, bring a sort of escape, provide an exotic ambiance and strike the right nuance between funny and subtle.

Told in the first person by Jimm the story opens with the discovery of a severed head on the beach where the Thai ex-crime reporter lives and works. Outraged when no one of authority is interested or wants to get involve and with the help of family and friends Jimm springs into action and sets out to track down what circumstances brought the poor fellow on her beach. On the journey this bunch of mishmash wannabes uncovers gruesome tales of piracy, slavery, violence and murder. Once more we have a tale where the amazing and the ridiculous clashes.

The story takes its merry time before getting to the meat of the mystery. Half the book’s dialogues is a play on words and seem funny but there is more to this laugh out loud silliness it does have an underlying seriousness. The plot centers on the situation Myanmar refugees in Thailand find themselves in, where some are kidnapped, forced into slavery aboard fishing ships and in a situation where some will never return to dry land. Although the story may sound rather grim, the hilarious spots make this book a really light read, one to enjoy to a degree ( )
  Tigerpaw70 | Jan 25, 2015 |
Colin Cotterill usually manages combine crime and comedy successfully in both of his series of books. Certainly his Dr. Siri series are better overall,but his first Jimm Juree came over well too.This second one starts well with Jimm finding the head of the title,and investigating how and why it got there. As the book progresses the story leaves comedy and crime and moves into the area of farce. By the end I had largely lost interest and merely hoped for a quick release. A pity as you can usually count on Cotterill for a great story. ( )
  devenish | May 21, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
In this second outing with reporter turned amateur sleuth, Jimm Juree, Colin Cotterill has once again mixed serious themes with humorous delivery for a mostly successful result.

Grandad, There’s a Head on the Beach focuses on the plight of Burmese immigrants in Thailand, particularly in the fishing village to which Jimm had been unexpectedly exiled in the previous book, as a result of her mother having bought a rundown resort in the area. Many madcap schemes and hilarious adventures occur as Jimm tries to solve the murder, with pretty much no help from the local police, and initial distrust from the very community she is trying to assist.

As in the first book in the series, Cotterill uses sarcastic and self-deprecating humor as a counterfoil for the serious issues being experienced by the characters. It’s a style he does very well, and it makes for an enjoyable, easy read. Revisiting the recurring characters was just as much fun as the last time, and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

I listened to the audiobook version, and while overall it was a good experience, there were some concerns. The narrator has a good sense of pacing and tone, and the different voices were well handled for the most part. However, towards the end of the book there is an entire section with rapid-fire one-liners from multiple characters during a couple of very tense scenes. During this portion of the book, I felt that the narration did not work. It was very hard to distinguish who was speaking and thus, while the tension was well represented, it was difficult to get a complete understanding of the sequence of events. While I will definitely continue with this series, I probably won’t choose the audiobooks.
  sangreal | Jan 8, 2014 |
It should be no surprise to anyone that Colin Cotterill's way with words has translated easily from the Laos of the 1970s in his Dr. Siri Paiboun mysteries to modern-day Thailand. From the mind of a wily and rebellious old Communist, we now get to enjoy following Jimm Juree, a Westernized Thai woman who has a talent for rooting out stories and surviving one family calamity after another.

Although I love Cotterill's humor-- and there is plenty to be found here-- he also deals with serious topics such as corrupt policemen and the plight of poor Burmese citizens coming to Thailand in hopes of work. Even that mysterious mother and daughter staying at the Gulf Bay Lovely Resort and Restaurant have important things to teach us. Each of these topics blend into the story seamlessly and add their own elements of suspense and danger.

The first book in the series, Killed at the Whim of a Hat, angered some American readers by using flubbed lines from speeches made by former President George Bush as chapter headings. Even though those quotes tied into the story, the perceived insult to a president was not appreciated. This time, Cotterill heads each chapter with a line from a song that has been phonetically translated by Thai karaoke and lounge singers. Several are absolutely hilarious, and the author does provide the correct lyrics at the back of the book. Once again, these lyrics do tie into the story, and this time in a very exciting way. Clint Eastwood also plays a part, but you'll have to read Grandad, There's a Head on the Beach to find out what it is.

Colin Cotterill has long been a favorite of mine for teaching me how other cultures perceive the world, for his sense of humor, and for his storytelling ability. It's my hope that you'll read his books and come to a similar appreciation. ( )
1 vote cathyskye | Oct 26, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312564546, Hardcover)

In rural Thailand, former crime reporter Jimm Juree must grapple with her quirky family, a mysterious mother and daughter on the lam and the small matter of a head on the beach
When Jimm Juree’s mother sold the family house and invested in a rundown 'holiday camp' at the southern end of Thailand on the Gulf of Siam, the family had little choice but to follow. Jimm Juree, who was well on her way to achieving her goal of becoming the primary crime reporter for the major daily newspaper in Chiang Mai, is less than thrilled to have lost her job as a reporter and to be stuck in the middle of nowhere where little of interest happens. So it is with mixed feelings that she greets the news that a head has washed up on the beach. It’s tragic, of course, but this could be the sort of sensational murder that would get her a byline in a major daily and keep her toehold on her journalism career. Now all she has to do is find out who was murdered, and why.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:46 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Reluctantly abandoning her crime-reporting job to accompany her family to her mother's newly acquired "holiday camp" on Thailand's Gulf of Siam, Jimm Juree investigates a morbid local mystery in the hopes of revamping her career.

(summary from another edition)

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Minotaur Books

An edition of this book was published by Minotaur Books.

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