Cotterill’s curmudgeonly coroner visits the Moscow Olympics, uncovering diverse dastardly deeds.
Though subversive Dr. Siri has left his post as Laotian national coroner, his interest in politics and the world at large remains acute. Because of the international boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics, Laos has a rare opportunity to send athletes to the games for the first time. Siri uses deliciously underhanded means to accompany the Laotian athletes as team doctor. A starchy retired bureaucrat named Civilai heads up their delegation. When she hears of the trip, blunt nurse Dtui, Siri’s former sidekick at the coroner’s office, insists on joining this adventure over the objections of her husband, Inspector Phosy, and the needs of their young child. Add Siri’s high-maintenance wife, Madame Daeng, and the adventure is sure to be eventful. Keeping the unsophisticated athletes focused, a job that’s like herding cats, gets even more complicated when Civilai receives a call from home letting him know that an as-yet-unnamed member of the team is actually an assassin. The group decides to keep a watchful eye on their charges, which turns out to be a poor decision, as evidence piles up and disaster seems imminent. While Phosy investigates back in Laos, Siri visits the assassin’s reported target. For their part, Madame Daeng and Dtui seem more interested in ogling the athletes than helping with the probe.
The 12th case for the irrepressible Laotian coroner (I Shot the Buddha, 2016, etc.) has a rambling plot but crackles with humor and overflows with eccentric characters. Droll chapter titles add an extra soupcon of mirth.