Killed at the Whim of a Hat

Colin Cotterill. Minotaur, $24.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-56453-7
At the start of Cotterill's excellent first in a new series, 34-year-old Jimm Juree, who's poised to become only the second female senior crime reporter in all of Thailand, has her professional ambitions dashed when her eccentric mother abruptly sells the family home and business in Chiang Mai in the north of the country. Juree must join her relatives in an obscure southern province, where she seizes the opportunity to exercise her atrophied journalism skills after two human skeletons are found in a buried Volkswagen van. With the help of her grandfather, a former policeman forced off the job for his excessive honesty, Juree persistently probes the story behind the grisly discovery as well as the truth behind a more recent crime. Cotterill (The Coroner's Lunch and six other mysteries featuring Laotian coroner Dr. Siri Paiboun) combines a wry narrative voice with an appealing picture of a world unfamiliar to most Americans. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/02/2011
Release date: 07/01/2011
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