I Shot the Buddha: A Doctor Siri Paiboun Mystery Set in Laos, by Colin Cotterill, (Soho Crime), 352 pages, released 2 August, 2016
Back in May, 2015, I reviewed the previous Dr. Siri Paiboun novel, which was the tenth in the series. I loved every moment of it: the deft interweaving of humor and the history of modern Laos and the unusual range of characters peopling it. Well, good news! Dr. Siri is back in I Shot the Buddha. He’s retired from his position as coroner, but the mysteries keep coming.
This time, he’s taking on a mission for Noo, a homeless Buddhist monk who had been living with Dr. Siri and his wife, Madame Daeng and who has suddenly disappeared. Noo leaves behind a note asking Dr. Siri to help smuggle another monk across the Mekhong into Thailand. Dr. Siri finds himself in a hostile Thai village where he must solve a series of horrible crimes if he wants to have any hope of returning to Laos. At the center of the mystery is a mechanic who may or may not be the latest incarnation of the Buddha and the legacy of colonial occupation.
Read this book both for the fun it offers and for the basic education in Buddhism and Lao/Thai history that it offers as a side dish.
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