Monday, August 8, 2011

"Killed at the Whim of a Hat"

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’s won the Dilys and a CWA Dagger, and has been a finalist for several other awards.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Killed at the Whim of a Hat, and reported the following:
The only problem I have with page 69 of the English version of Killed at the Whim of a Hat (They still haven’t sent me a copy of the US version) is that it isn’t funny. It astounded me that I’d be able to write an entire page and not have one joke. It usually only takes me a paragraph to get bored and feel the need to be wry. But here on page 69 there is nerry a chuckle. Not so much as a muffled guffaw.

It does however have a mystery which is always a good thing for a mystery novel. It makes you want to hurry on to page 70. Our protagonist, Jimm, is in a temple trying to squeeze some information out of a nun and a monk. They’re being very cagy and Jimm is obviously uncomfortable in that setting:
…I’d always been uncomfortably aware of rituals and unwritten rites in temples. I seemed to be the only one who didn’t know the secrets. As children, Mair had always hurried us in and out of ceremonies as if some spell might infect us if we lingered too long. Consequently, I always felt like a foreigner with only a basic grasp of the language.
And will the nun spill the beans?
‘So?’ I pushed.

We were behind the half-painted wall. The nun’s voice dropped to a hush no louder than the swish her robe.
Still plagued by this lack of humour, I would like all of you folks in North America to rush out and by a copy of the Minotaur version of KWH and see what’s happening on page 69 there. If it isn’t that funny I’m obviously turning into a serious writer. Heaven forbid.
Learn more about the book and author at Colin Cotterill's website.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue