Anarchy and Old Dogs
The fourth Dr. Siri Paiboun Mystery
When a blind former dentist is run over by a truck, Dr. Siri Paiboun, the reluctant national coroner of Laos, suspects that this was no traffic accident. A coded message in invisible ink is recovered from the dentist’s body, and Dr. Siri begins to follow clues that hint at deep—and dangerous—political intrigue. Dr. Siri only intended to investigate a murder; is he now being drawn into an insurrection? Will he, as a fortune teller predicts, betray his country?
Set in 1970s Communist Laos, Cotterill's delightful fourth novel to feature Dr. Siri Paiboun, the Laotian national coroner and one of the more eccentric characters in crime fiction, and Paiboun's clever assistant, Nurse Dtui (after 2006's Disco for the Departed), nicely blends the supernatural, humor and intrigue. This time, their trials and tribulations begin with the death of Dr. Buagaew, a blind dentist hit by a truck. When blank papers are found on the dentist's body, Paiboun quickly discovers encoded writing in invisible ink. Aided by his friends, police officer Phosy and politburo member Civilai, Paiboun follows up on a number of clues and discovers that the code describes a series of chess moves. A trip to the southern Laotian city of Pakse draws him deeper into a complex political intrigue. Adding local color is Auntie Bpoo, a fortune-teller transvestite who predicts Paiboun will soon betray his country. This sometimes slapstick, sometimes serious, but always lively mystery is sure to bring the author many new readers.