A blind retired dentist has been run down by a logging truck on the street in Vientiane just opposite the post office. His body is duly delivered to the morgue of Dr. Siri Paiboun, the official and only coroner of Laos. At the age of seventy-four, Dr. Siri is too old to be in awe of the new communist bureaucrats for whom he now works. He identifies the corpse, helped by the letter in the mans pocket. But first he must decipher it; it is written in code and invisible ink. The dentists widow explains that the enigmatic letters and numbers describe chess moves, but they are unlike any chess symbols Siri has previously encountered. With the help of his old friend, Civilai, now a senior member of the Laos politburo; Nurse Dtui (Fatty); Phosy, a police officer; and Aunt Bpoo, a transvestite fortune-teller, Dr. Siri solves the mystery of the note and foils a plot to overthrow the government of Laos.
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"[E]verywhere Mr. Cotterill's characters go, they maintain a wry, seasoned, offhand style that has been the secret weapon of this unexpectedly blithe and charming series." - The New York Times, Janet Maslin.
"This sometimes slapstick, sometimes serious, but always lively mystery is sure to bring the author many new readers." - Publishers Weekly.
"As Siri finds his comfort zone in the new regime, Cotterill's portrait of his world gains depth and breath. Using a twisty mystery as a MacGuffin, he takes droll aim at the absurdities of recent history, all the more fascinating for their plausibility." - Kirkus Reviews.
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Colin Cotterill was born in London and taught in Australia, the U.S., Laos, and Japan. He works for UNICEF and local nongovernmental agencies to prevent child prostitution and to rehabilitate abused children. He and his wife live in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he teaches at the university.
Cotterill's books include The Coroners Lunch, Thirty-Three Teeth, Disco for the Departed, Anarchy and Old Dogs, and Curse of the Pogo Stick, all featuring seventy-three year old Dr. Siri Paiboun, national coroner of Laos. The Dr. Siri series has received a Dilys Award win and a Barry Award nomination. Killed at the Whim of a Hat is the first book in the Jimm Juree Mystery series.
Colin Cotterill: COT-er-ill
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