Saturday, October 27, 2012
"Killed at the Whim of a Hat", by Colin Cotterill
This delightful first entry into a new series is set in southern Thailand and focuses on Jimm Juree, an eccentric 34 year old woman, who desperately wants to become a senior crime reporter. In a public oration course in college, Jimm has studied the speaking style of President George W. Bush and all through the mystery the author strategically quotes some of the President’s slips and gaffes to add a touch of humour to the story.
Jimms first big break comes at the start of the story when a van containing the skeletal remains of two hippies, one wearing a hat, is discovered buried in a local farmer’s field. While on the scene recording the events, a second scoop comes her way. She learns an abbot at a local monastery looking into the sexual activities of monks and nuns has been found stabbed to death. Jimm is an aggressive but careful investigative reporter driven by passion for her profession and eager to prove herself by taking on both cases. She realises this could make or break her career and if all goes well could thrust her into the limelight of national papers.
The highlight of the story is the playful narrative that explores the Thai sexual openness, the ethnic tensions and the devious politics. This novel is compassionate, funny and dark. What I liked the best is the author’s humour and his wacky characters. On a minor note, I found the strong characterisation had the tendency to override the plotting at times and the pacing bogged down and wandered a little too much for my liking. "Killed at the Whim of a Hat" is essentially an introduction to a new protagonist, her family and friends.
From what I see so far I can honestly say I am looking forward to the future development of this series. Things are definitely off to a good start for Jimm Juree.