Colin Cotterill

Killed at the Whim of a Hat

"I suggest you plunge in and give this novel a read – you will be entertained and uplifted."


Jimm Juree feels her life as a crime reporter is over when forced to move with her family to a quiet fishing village on the Gulf of Siam where nothing happens and everyone is friendly. That is until a VW camper van is unearthed during the excavation of a well. Inside are two corpses who appear to have been buried alive decades ago.

Then an eminent monk is savagely murdered at a local monastery. Another monk who was being investigated is the prime suspect but there seems to Jimm a tone to the murder that doesn’t fit a killing of rage. Why were the monastery dogs heard barking at the scene of the crime and why does the solution to the case weigh merely on the whim of a hat?

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Colin Cotterill, well known for his Dr. Siri series strikes out with a new set of characters. Jimm Juree is a young woman who feels she has not reached her full potential and although she can hold her own when using her investigative resources, is not exactly on the ball when it comes to men and dating. That is left to her mother, Mair who spends half her time in another dimension, what is usually referred to as ‘living with the fairies’. Now and again Mair will come out with a risqué story from her past. What Jimm would love to hear more about is her father who is nothing more than a phantom. I am hopeful that Cotterill will expand the father figure more in future books. With Grandad Jah who was a traffic policeman until the day he retired because he wouldn’t take bribes, Arny, an emotional body builder and Sissi, a transsexual brother/sister who lives her life through the Internet, you know that this story is going to be shot through with very quirky humour indeed! And indeed, there is humour aplenty! However, despite the fun, this doesn’t detract from the main plots of the camper van and murdered Monk investigations. Cotterill leads Jimm through the male orientated police force and finds her the perfect partner in crime in the form of a very camp policeman who I instantly fell in love with and who had all the best lines. It seemed amazing that Chompu is overtly camp and yet none of his colleagues, (all detectives, mind!) hadn’t found out his (very badly kept) secret. The fact he sings along with the likes of Kylie and Mariah Carey would be a big giveaway! I am looking forward to Chompu’s next appearance. I enjoyed my time spent with this antiquated family and the book flowed beautifully. You can tell that Cotterill loves his adopted homeland, warts and all and takes an ironic view at some of the darker parts. This is an enchanting read from a very good writer who knows how to give his characters ‘heart’. I admit ‘Killed at the Whim of a Hat is not my usual fare which makes this review all the more relevant when I suggest you plunge in and give this novel a read – you will be entertained and uplifted: a feel good novel that will put a smile on your face – something we all need during these trying times!!!

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