Laos' reluctant national coroner, confused psychic, and disheartened communist returns for a second case, employing his forensic skills and spiritual acumen to solve a series of bizarre killings.
Against all his expectations, Dr Siri Paiboun has rather enjoyed his first five months in office. Now, as hot-season nights close in, Siri is spirited away from Laos' steamy capital on a Matter of National Security. Arriving in Luang Prabang, he's a busy man, examining carbonized corpses, dining with the deposed king, attending a shamans' conference and being rescued by the ghost of an elephant. Not that Siri's complaining ... Luang Prabang is in mountains and a good fifteen degrees cooler.
Meanwhile, back at Vientiane headquarters, it's hot. Bloody hot - savaged bodies are piling up in Siri's absence. Is it the missing black bear from the circus, or could it be a weretiger? Siri's trusty assistant Nurse Dtui goes snooping but, unlike her boss, the spirits aren't looking out for her... And just what creature, if any, has thirty-three teeth?
Colin Cotterill was born in London. He has taught in Australia, the USA and Japan and lived for many years in Laos where he worked for nongovernmental social service organizations. He now writes full-time and lives in Chumphone, Thailand. He has been short-listed for the CWA Gold Dagger and has won the CWA Dagger in the Library.