Anarchy and Old Dogs: A Dr Siri Paiboun Mystery 4

by Colin Cotterill | Mystery & Thrillers |
ISBN: 9781569474631 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 4/6/2019
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Saturday, April 06, 2019
I got this ex-library hardcover from Better World Books. I've enjoyed several books in this series now, including the first two, The Coroner's Lunch and Thirty-Three Teeth, and am picking up the rest as opportunity presents.

The series is about a 70-something doctor who finds himself appointed as the national coroner of Laos, and must do the best he can amid shortages of supplies - and lots of political pressure. Despite the often-harsh setting, the tone is very upbeat, with Siri's wit and humor shining through. And the supernatural touches add interest - and occasional confusion!

This book picks up after the events of Disco for the Departed, and features more of Siri's political past than the previous book; indeed, his travels in the company of his old friend (and senior member of the Laos politburo) Civilai bring up lots of flashbacks to the days of their youth - as well as plots and counterplots taking place in the current day. The mystery opens with the hit-and-run death of a blind dentist who'd been picking up mail; the letter contained apparently-blank paper bearing a secret message, and led to possible anti-government plots, and a refugee camp which Siri's trusted nurse Dhoti and his friend the clever policeman Phosy infiltrate while posing as spouses (this will have long-term ramifications!). There's also a tragic and touching side-story involving the death of a young boy, whose body suggests something very odd - this eventually ties in to the main plot with a truly nightmarish reveal as to his fate, but luckily Siri's ability to communicate with spirits of the dead let him (and us, and the boy's family and friends) know that his spirit has been reborn in a river dolphin and is now happily splashing around the river...

This book also introduces transvestite fortune-teller Auntie Bpoo, who seems to take a dislike to Siri for assuming she's a fraud - until her rhymes and predictions prove accurate; and it reunites Siri with Madame Daeng, who had known him and his late wife in their youth during their days of extreme political activism. Nowadays she's a marvelous noodle-dish cook and a very clever woman, and I know from later books that things are going to work out for her and Siri, though there will be some rough spots along the way!

The series continues with Curse of the Pogo Stick.

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Little Free Library, Little Brook Farm in Carlisle, Massachusetts USA on Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Released 3 mos ago (10/22/2019 UTC) at Little Free Library, Little Brook Farm in Carlisle, Massachusetts USA


I left this book in the Little Free Library on this drizzly afternoon; hope someone enjoys it!

[See other recent releases in MA here.]

*** Released for the 2019 Tick Tock release challenge. ***

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