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KILLED AT THE WHIM OF A HAT by Colin Cotterill


by Colin Cotterill

Pub Date: July 19th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-312-56453-7
Publisher: Minotaur

Stuck in the boondocks, a former crime reporter finds salvation by getting back into that gritty game.

In Thailand's rural Chumphon province, farmer Old Mel discovers a Volkswagen van buried on his oil plantation. Even more unusual, inside are two corpses. It's just the kind of crime that Jimm Juree would have covered in her previous life as a reporter in the bustling city of Chiang Mai, but the decision by her eccentric mother Mair to give up the family business—"a sort of rustic 7-Eleven" near Chiang Mai University—has thrown the whole family into chaos. Jimm, her bodybuilder brother Arny and their Granddad Jah have grimly followed Mair to southern Chumphon. After a year, Jimm's favorite activity has become grousing about her situation; she even makes a list of her complaints. When she reads of the corpses, she seizes on the story like a lifeline, rushing to quiz Old Mel, lying to police about her experience and even turning on the flamboyant charm with a gay cop who has special access. Her appetite whetted, Jimm begins to poke into other crimes. Some are as loopy as her family, like the bloody murder of a visiting abbot who's investigating sexual shenanigans between nuns and monks at a monastery. Cotterill devotes equal time to the comic antics of Jimm's relatives.

An ebullient series kickoff by the author of the Dr. Siri series (Love Songs From a Shallow Grave, 2010, etc.). Character and quirky comedy trump mystery, and lay a great foundation for further involving adventures.