Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Review of Killed at the Whim of a Hat by Colin Cotterill (Quercus, 2011)
I’m a fan of Cotterill’s Dr Siri series set in Laos in the 1970s. Although the characters are all a bit eccentric, they are all believable, warm and sit together comfortably, and there is a lovely sense of place and time. Killed at the Whim of a Hat had none of those things. The characters are a ragbag of caricature and are largely one-dimensional. They seemed forced and false. Moreover, told in the first person, the voice of Jimm Juree just didn’t click for me. The real let down of the book, however, is the plot. Neither of the two plotlines are well resolved, though the two unearthed bodies was more plausible than the death of the abbot, which really made little sense and relied on coincidence and Juree having a sister with way more resources and skills than the police could ever dream of. Just about the whole storyline was nonsense and didn’t stand up to a casual read, let alone scrutiny. Cotterill is a skilled writer and he can write with great warmth and wit, this whole story, however, felt forced and flat. I’ll persist with the Dr Siri novels and will maybe return to this if reviews of future books suggests a return to form.