Laos, 1979: Dr. Siri Paiboun, the twice-retired ex-National Coroner of Laos, receives an unmarked package in the mail. Inside is a hand-woven pha sin, a colorful traditional skirt worn in northern Laos. A lovely present, but who sent it to him, and why? And, more importantly, why is there a severed human finger stitched into the sin’s lining?
Siri is convinced someone is trying to send him a message, and won’t let the matter rest until he’s figured it out. He finagles himself and his wife a trip up north to the province where the sin was made, not realizing they are embarking on a deadly scavenger hunt. Meanwhile, the northern Lao border is about to erupt into violence—and Dr. Siri and his entourage are walking right into the heart of the conflict.
I love mysteries and was eager to read Six and a Half Deadly Sins, the latest Dr. Siri Paiboun mystery. Dr. Siri Paiboun, the retired national coroner of post-revolutionary Laos in the 1970s, who sleuths with his wife. In Six and a Half Deadly Sins, Dr. Siri receives a severed finger wrapped in a traditional Laotian woven skirt. After consulting an expert, Dr Siri learns that the weave comes from one of the Northern Laotian towns. It's not easy to travel within the country - no flights or buses that take you to major hubs - but Dr. Siri solves a minor mystery to help a corrupt judge. The judge arranges for Dr. Siri to be sent on a government mission to Northern Laotian towns just as he wanted. Dr. Siri and his wife head North to find the town from where the cloth was woven, determine who the weaver might have been, and whose finger was removed.
As their journey takes them to different towns, they are handed other pieces of weave that serve as clues of their own. Dr. Siri isn't facing an ordinary murder - instead he must factor in issues with powerful Chinese interests, drug lords, and the difficult conditions of Socialist, impoverished Laos. Colin Cotterill delivers an unusual, sympathetic and funny mystery set in an unusual time and place.
About the Author:
Colin Cotterill is the Dilys Award–winning author of nine other books in the Dr. Siri Paiboun series: The Coroner’s Lunch, Thirty-Three Teeth, Disco for the Departed, Anarchy and Old Dogs, Curse of the Pogo Stick, The Merry Misogynist, Love Songs from a Shallow Grave, Slash and Burn, and The Woman Who Wouldn’t Die. He lives in Chumphon, Thailand, with his wife and six deranged dogs.