Synopses & Reviews
In poverty-stricken 1978 Laos, a man with a truck from the city was “somebody,” a catch for even the prettiest village virgin. The corpse of one of these bucolic beauties turns up in Dr. Siri’s morgue and his curiosity is piqued. The victim was tied to a tree and strangled but she had not, as the doctor had expected, been raped, although her flesh had been torn. And though the victim had clear, pale skin over most of her body, her hands and feet were gnarled, callused, and blistered.
On a trip to the hinterlands, Siri discovers that the beautiful female corpse bound to a tree has already risen to the status of a rural myth. This has happened many times before. He sets out to investigate this unprecedented phenomenon—a serial killer in peaceful Buddhist Laos—only to discover when he has identified the murderer that not only pretty maidens are at risk. Seventy-three-year-old coroners can be victims, too.
"Setting and character more than compensate for a routine plot in Cotterill's sixth procedural to feature Laos's irreverent 73-year-old national coroner, Dr. Siri Paiboun (after 2008's Curse of the Pogo Stick). In March 1978, Siri gets into trouble after the authorities discover he's been living above his wife's noodle shop rather than in the housing assigned him by the inept and corrupt socialist government. Luckily, he's soon called to examine the body of an attractive young woman, who was found strangled, sexually abused and tied to a tree outside the capital of Vientiane. The country's backward communication methods, which even affect law enforcement, make identifying other similar crimes difficult, but Siri's doggedness eventually uncovers other such cases. While some may find the light tone the author takes in presenting the brutal crimes off-putting, the glimpses of everyday life in Laos will appeal to those readers curious about a culture unfamiliar to most Americans." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The sixth mystery in the award-winning Dr. Siri Paiboun series set in Laos.
About the Author
Colin Cotterill is the Dilys Award-winning author of nine books in the Dr. Siri Paiboun series: The Coroner's Lunch, Thirty-Three Teeth, Disco for the Departed, Anarchy and Old Dogs, Curse of the Pogo Stick, The Merry Misogynist, Love Songs from a Shallow Grave, and Slash & Burn, and The Woman Who Wouldn't Die. He lives in Chumphon, Thailand, with his wife and six deranged dogs.