Best known for his mystery novels about Dr. Siri Paiboun (including The Coroner’s Lunch), today Colin Cotterill launches a new series with Killed at the Whim of a Hat, the story of a crime reporter based in rural Thailand who is surrounded by a kooky cast of characters.

BookPage asked Cotterill to write a guest post to introduce readers to the new series. What we received wasn’t quite what we expected (such as a behind-the-book story or perhaps a rumination on the author’s favorite detectives) . . . although it was much more amusing.

Read on for two outrageous stories of the weirdest things publicists have ever asked this author to do—and if you’re laughing at the end of it, consider yourself introduced to the humor of Colin Cotterill.

The Weirdest Things Publicists Have Asked Me to Do
by Colin Cotterill

Part I. The naked bookseller

I looked around the coffee shop for a naked woman, or at least a woman I could imagine naked. In fact there were very few that I couldn’t imagine naked. (I have a vivid imagination.)

In fact, I picked her out quite early. She wore bright lipstick and a low-cut angora sweater and was waving at me. My German publicist had asked me to “entertain” her; they’d flown her all the way to Berlin just for our date. She’d earned this “prize” because she and 11 other booksellers from the German hinterlands had decided to produce a nude calendar; it was a concept that I’m sure nobody else has ever thought of. My naked lady would be wearing nothing but my book. (Several copies would, I’m sure, have been necessary.) Luckily this was an afternoon coffee date rather than an all-night beer keller binge, so all I have to remind me of my day in Berlin is October, 2010 on my bathroom wall.

Part II. A night in the morgue

“Could you just climb up on the slab?” she asked.

“Is it clean?”

“Of course. They use Lysol after each autopsy.”

Fortunately the 500 guests had gone home, so I wasn’t subjected to the epileptic effects of flashbulbs. Just me and the state coroner and my publicist. It had been a huge success. The author of The Coroner’s Lunch in the lecture hall of the Munich city morgue. The largest gathering of (live) people they’d ever had there. A reading in German by a famous actor known for dying horribly in both Enemy at the Gate and (ironically) The Reader.

And as I reclined on my slab, posing for that ultimate dead author’s society look, I ruminated about how far I’d come and how little more there was to achieve.

[For more adventures from Cotterill's life, visit Col's Diary. And pick up Killed at the Whim of a Hat—on sale today!]

Author photo by Roy Hamric.

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