I love the Colin Cotterill detective series that take place in Laos in the late 1970s. It is a window into a time and place as well as wonderful characters whose ethic of working together within a crazy system, depending on each other, well-earned wisdom and common sense overcomes the system itself.
This was my 2nd Dr. Siri Paiboun mystery but unfortunately, I read Coroner's Lunch too long ago to remember anything except that I enjoyed it. I didn't enjoy this one overmuch. It was certainly funny in spots and Dr. Siri was entertaining but as the author warned in the forward, there is an awful lot of supernatural activity here and since I am a Westerner, I found all the weird stuff - amulets, ghosts and all the rest of the stuff from the village - to be distractions from the many plot lines. Anyway, I think I'll have to work my way through the other Dr Siri books before I finally decide whether John Burdett's Thai detective (I'm not even going to try to recall and spell his name correctly) is my favorite South Asian detective.
I really have enjoyed this series. I have learned a tremendous amount about Laos in the late 1970s. The series also includes a lot of the "spiritual world" and this work has more than most. The author worked in the region in the early 1990s but not much had changed in Laos since the late 1970s.
It very much helps to read the series from the beginning to get the most out of these books.
This addition was much more complex than most of the other books and I needed to step back and reread a few sections to follow the continuity. On the whole I heartily recommend it.
I've read all the Dr. Siri books and enjoyed them. This one, however, is overloaded with plots and sub-plots. Too many spirits (including whiskey) for me.
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