Don't ask how, but Dr. Siri Paiboun, the seventy-five-year-old ex-national coroner of Laos, has managed to get his hands on a movie camera that just happened to fall off the back of a truck when the film crew for The Deerhunter was traveling to a new location. He's written a screenplay that is the Lao version of War and Peace, and he and his friend Civilai are about to start filming. Just as soon as they figure out how to turn on the camera.
But while Siri's sweating the details, he stops to help his friend Phosy who's recently been promoted to Chief Inspector. The skeleton of a woman appeared under the Anusawari Arch in the middle of the night. The case is unusual in that, although the woman died recently, her bones look as though something-- or someone-- had been gnawing on them. The information Phosy uncovers during his investigation could very well have dire consequences for his future and the future of his wife and child.
Once again Dr. Siri and his friends, dedicated communists all, fight a battle against murder, bureaucracy, and deeply rooted corruption. In many ways, readers can forget all about these characters being communists if they want to because Dr. Siri and the gang spend their days being good people who try their best to do the right thing. You can't ask for more from anybody now, can you?
Don't Eat Me has Colin Cotterill's trademark humor, especially in the scenes dealing with Siri, Civilai and their movie camera; however, there is a serious side, too. The seriousness comes wrapped in the mystery of the woman's skeleton when they have to deal with bureaucracy, the black market, and a system that is rotten with corruption. And when things get very dark, that's when something marvelous happens: the Noodle Revolt. The only thing I'll say about the Revolt is that it alone is worth the price of admission. (It's a two-hanky scene. At least.)
I love this series. I've loved it since the very first book, The Coroner's Lunch. Yes, it makes me laugh, and yes, it makes me think and learn, but most of all, through his wonderful characters, Colin Cotterill reminds me that all people have value-- and that the majority of us are good at heart. In this day and age, this is something we all need to be reminded of.
Don't Eat Me by Colin Cotterill
Soho Crime © 2018
Hardcover, 304 pages
Historical Mystery, #13 Dr. Siri mystery
Source: the publisher