Killed at the Whim of a Hat
Minotaur, Jul 19 2011, $24.99
Thirtyish Jimm Juree feels euphoric that the Chiang Mai Daily Mail is about to make her the second female senior crime reporter in Thailand. However, her mother destroys her professional dreams when she sells the family home and business without warning. The matriarch moves the extended family which includes Jimm’s retired cop Granddad, her body builder younger brother and her transgendered beauty pageant queen former older brother from the north to the south to Chumphon Province none of them has heard of. The journalist fears her mom might be going senile.
All is not lost when two skeletons of hippies are found buried inside an interred Volkswagen van. Soon after the farmer Mel Phumihan found the gruesome remains, someone brutally kills a Buddhist abbot with a monk and a nun the only viable suspects. Granddad mentors Jimm on investigations as she learns to dig beyond the surface layer of dirt.
Though he switches generations and locale from Laotian coroner Dr. Siri Paiboun (one could argue Granddad is the equivalent to Paiboun) to thirtyish Juree in Thailand, Colin Cotterill provides an engaging investigative tale that shines an intelligent spotlight on the country. Jimm and Granddad are a wonderful team as he teaches her how to conduct a proper inquiry. Readers will enjoy Mr. Cotterill’s exciting investigation that is a family affair.