Michele Weiner's Reviews > Killed at the Whim of a Hat

Killed at the Whim of a Hat by Colin Cotterill
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's review
Oct 24, 2011

really liked it
Read in October, 2011

I'd give it 4.5 if I could. Jimm Juree is a crime reporter in Thailand, who runs into some trouble with the local police in her home city when she very publically solves a crime they had botched. She has not recovered from the shock of her fall from grace when her mother, without consulting anyone, suddenly sells their business and insists that they all move to a tiny village in dangerously volatile southern Thailand, there to operate a run-down resort, restaurant and convenience store called the Gulf Bay Lovely Resort and Restaurant. The Juree family consists of this determined, but disorderly mother, a transgendered brother-turned-sister who is a reclusive internet criminal, a body-building, 30-year-old younger brother who is a virgin, and a silent grandfather who used to be a traffic cop. Jimm does not know who her father is.

Soon after Jimm chooses to stay with her family regardless of her misgivings about the move, she hears of an unusual event near her remote village. While digging a well as only the Thai can do it, a local plantation owner has found a Volkswagen minibus with two skeletons inside buried under his land. Jimm cycles furiously to the scene, where she notices that the driver is still sitting upright at the wheel and is still wearing a hat. Only days later, a monk is killed at a local monastery, wearing a bright orange hat with a red flower. Hence the title of the book. Every chapter is headed by a different quote from George W. Bush, about whom Jimm has written a thesis for her Master's degree. The quote, from Sept. 17, 2004 reads: "Free societies are hopeful societies. And free societies will be allies against these hateful few who have no conscience and who kill at the whim of a hat." Jimm says, "My analysis of George W.'s oratory style had taught me that a sincere countenance and a confident stance were sufficient to distract your audience from the fact that you were talking rubbish." Enough said.

Killed at the Whim of a Hat is very, very funny. Jimm makes allies and solves the mysteries, and in the process finds a new life. Very rewarding.


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