5. “Curse of the pogo stick” by Colin Cotterill


Publisher: Lao Insight

This is the fifth installment in the Dr Siri Paibourn crime series set in Laos during the Communist revolution in the mid- to late 1970s. In “Curse of the pogo stick” (surely one of the most creative names of a crime novel ever?!) Dr Siri has been sent to a Communist national conference that is boring him half to death, while Dtui and Mr Geung are stuck with the auditors at the mortuary in Vientiane.

Things quickly become more exciting, however, when Dtui uncovers a plot to bomb the mortuary – with the help of Phosy, her policeman husband, she soon links the bomb to the Lizard, the spy who was behind the failed Monarchist coup d’état in a previous book. Together Dtui and Phosy set out to capture the Lizard and her cronies. At the same time, Dr Siri is kidnapped by a Hmong tribe to exorcise a curse that has decimated the village’s male population – it all began when one of the men brought home a cursed pogo stick after a training stint in the US…

This is yet another delightful book about Dr Siri Paibourn and his companions. Like the others in the series, “Curse of the pogo stick” is a wonderful depiction of daily life in Laos during the Communist revolution combined with a truly original crime plot. The book also made me laugh out loud on several occasions, for instance when a bored bureaucrat mistakes Siri and Madame Cheung for the bride and groom’s grand parents when they go to tie the knot at the court house. A wonderful read!

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