Grandad, There's a Head on the Beach: A Jimm Juree Mystery Hardcover – Jun 19 2012
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“Cotterill effortlessly merges murder and mirth.... Impressively, the author manages to insert a serious human rights problem amid the larking around without hitting a false note, and is on track to duplicate the acclaim and commercial success of his Dr. Siri series.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Definitely puts the fun in family dysfunction. Jimm, an Asian Stephanie Plum, rattles steadily to a solution, with many hilarious episodes along the way.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“The author's natural gift for irony ... is to be relished.” ―Library Journal
“Cotterill masterfully blends real-world issues . . . with appealing cozy elements and his trademark humor. Series readers will be thrilled with this installment and anxious for the next one.” ―Booklist
“The best beach title around.” ―New York Times
About the Author
Born in London, COLIN COTTERILL has worked as teacher in Israel, Australia, the U.S. and Japan before he started training teachers in Thailand. Cotterill and his wife live in a small fishing village on the Gulf of Siam in Southern Thailand. He has won the Dilys and a CWA Dagger and has been a finalist for several other awards. His Jimm Juree Mysteries include Killed at the Whim of a Hat; Grandad, There's a Head on the Beach and The Axe Factor.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
If humour is the essence we find here no shortage of it, actually we have plenty to make us laugh, a bit too much for my taste but again this is Colin Cotterill, a prolific and eccentric crime writer and cartoonist who is more than able to produce stories that will certainly throw us off guard, bring a sort of escape, provide an exotic ambiance and strike the right nuance between funny and subtle.
Told in the first person by Jimm the story opens with the discovery of a severed head on the beach where the Thai ex-crime reporter lives and works. Outraged when no one of authority is interested or wants to get involve and with the help of family and friends Jimm springs into action and sets out to track down what circumstances brought the poor fellow on her beach. On the journey this bunch of mishmash wannabes uncovers gruesome tales of piracy, slavery, violence and murder. Once more we have a tale where the amazing and the ridiculous clashes.
The story takes its merry time before getting to the meat of the mystery. Half the book’s dialogues is a play on words and seem funny but there is more to this laugh out loud silliness it does have an underlying seriousness. The plot centers on the situation Myanmar refugees in Thailand find themselves in, where some are kidnapped, forced into slavery aboard fishing ships and in a situation where some will never return to dry land. Although the story may sound rather grim, the hilarious spots make this book a really light read, one to enjoy to a degree
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The book is basically a continuation of the lives of Jimm Jurree and family in a southern Thailand backwater where they are trying to manage a sinking resort hotel. This episode provides some clue as to what brought them down from a comfortable middle-class life in the north and, of course, focuses on the plight of the Burmese refugees living in the area.
This novel could have used some tightening and adjustment of the tone so that the terrible things happening to the Burmese didn't become trivialized. The story's weaknesses won't keep me from looking forward to Mr. Cotterill's next book however. He's a fine writer who know how to spin an entertaining story.
- "A Head of what?"
- "What?" - Our Jimm repeats, nearly speechless...
- "Head of fish?" - "Head of dog?" - "Head of cabbage?" he continues...
- "Head of man." answers Jimm Juree, our yet well known thirty-something ex crime reporter from Chang Mai. Unfortunately she was trasplanted by the (higher) force of her a-little-bit-out-of-the-road Mair (Mum), together with her body-building brother Arny (in honor of Schwarzy) and the above mentioned Grandad Jah, an ex street policeman in semi-permanent mental absence, to a lovely but doomed seaside resort in rural costal Southern Thailand ( see: Killed at the Whim of a Hat (Jimm Juree 1).
This fateful morning, as every morning, Jimm took the dogs Gogo and Sticky Rice out on a stroll along the beach, littered with debris and garbage and single shoes because of the monsoon tides.
Sticky, in search of food as always, found the head, a single, lonesome head - no body attached. So she hurries to give the notice to her police schooled Gramps.
Questioned if it could have been a shark attac, Grandad answers: "Only if the shark was using a sabre. This death has nothing to do with sea creatures."
As the word spreads, police men arrive. And also a special police officer makes his entrance - specialised on cases like this - body parts or entire bodies arriving on the beaches around Pak Nam. He only responds to Code M.
M as Maung, which means Burmese, yes, but it isn't a very friendly name for them...
And here we get right to the core of the case.
Around Pak Nam supposedly are living 5.400 Burmese citizens, doing every work someone gives to them. Before the men let their families die of hunger or disease in Myanmar, they come over to Thailand - mostly illegal aliens - to do all those things the Thai don't like to do anymore.
We will find the ex chief surgeon of Urology at East Yangon Hospital drying fish, because he has a very sick son at home and he's payed for this work twice as much in Thailand than he earned as a doctor in Myanmar...
In front of our heroine unravels a clew of corruption and violation of even the most basic of human rights - to live in peace and to live in freedom...
Every week are disappearing Burmese - legals with "Sponsors" or illegals, it doesn't matter - to never been seen again. Or maybe only parts of them, stacked in the Freezer of a so called "Human Rights Organization ONG" ...
Eager to solve this case, our Jimm will find very, but very very usefull help from the missing member of the Juree clan. The former elder brother, now after the "Great Snip" an "Auntie Sissi", ex Miss Thay, Asia, Frisco World of Transgender etc, an IDOL in the cyber-world. She has made up her mind to fly to Seoul for a ball of former "ducks", that were able to come out as "SWANS"...
But destiny intervenes, and so Sissi will make some of the most important contributes to save a lot of lifes.
All together, the Jurees will uncover gruesome acts of piracy and slavery, violence and murder in the Gulf of Thailand. The authorities all haven't shown any interest in those cases of bodies, body-parts, maybe because the victims simply are not Thai???
Whatever the reason may be, Jimm and her Team are going to handle this injustice all on their own, even when the fiend seems to outnumber them by "normal" weapons!
But the Lord Buddha has many ways to help his disciples...as there is KARAOKE.
Read and learn more!!!
Remains an other big, black question mark!
Who exactly are those two elegant women, obviously mother and daughter in cabin three without any ID, nor plates on their car, and why has the engine number been filed away? There is a lot more to discover.
But when our once so hilarious heroine gives her best in interrogating the poor 'lil daughter, she will spill out the facts about the "Rich and Powerful" abusing and threatening average people out of their normal lives.
But Jimm Juree and her Nearest and Dearest are the right persons to solve all those mysteries.
There will be a more than strange "Mother-and-Child-Reunion" to get out of an imminent danger a mistreated friend - or shall I say a "Damsel in Distress???
And - then - at the very end - there will be one BIG, but very very BIG surprise to all fans of Jimm Juree & Family!!
I have read this second book about the Raving Reporter Jimm Juree with very much pleasure, but let's face it - with one laughing and one weeping eye...
Because this book faces a reality which Colin Cotterill as a long-time Human Rights Fighter in South East Asia knew and knows until now very well.
The wits and twists of the story, those very out-of-a-normal-range-persons, the idea and last but not least - KARAOKE, make this book a more than interesting story for readers who enjoy the Dr Siri series, but also for those who simply like rural costal Southern Thailand (and the Islands just a bit more to the East...)
PS.: As Colin Cotteril writes one page 326 "He wished to have made up the whole story about the Burmese. But sadly, in a less bizzare form, it is TRUE!
If someone wants to see what our Burmese brothers and sisters face, take a look at this BBC article from 2011. Things aren't better today.