Reviewed by Theodore Feit
Dr. Siri Paiboun, the retired national Lao coroner, together with his wife and friends, manage to get themselves into all kinds of amusing situations while solving mysteries in this long-running series. The author, who lives inThailand, takes advantage of the setting to spoof the Lao Communist government and bureaucracy.
When the skeleton of a young woman is found in a prominent location, the group finds itself mixed up with a corrupt judge, uncovering a horrible black market operation, and a murder mystery to solve. Meanwhile, Dr. Siri and his close friend, Civilai, have come into possession of a movie camera and tripod (which they don’t know how to operate, much less turn on) and set out to film a Lao adaptation of War and Peace by writing a script.. This puts them in conflict with the Ministry of Culture, which writes its own script.
This is the 13th novel in the series, and is as amusing as its predecessors. However, this book introduces a serious subject: the mistreatment and trafficking of wild animals, the exposure of which leads to dire consequences for the newly appointed Chief Inspector of Police Phosy and Dr, Siri and his friends. Written at times with tongue-in-cheek, but always with sureness, the novel is recommended.