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by Colin Cotterill

Pub Date: Feb. 19th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-61695-206-8
Publisher: Soho Crime

Thailand's crustiest coroner smells a rat when a mysterious woman returned from the dead begins making prophetic proclamations.

October, 1978. Madame Used-To-Be has earned a reputation in her Lao village for dispensing bits of wisdom and accurate predictions, warming the hearts of all who visit her. What sets her apart from other prognosticators is that when she was known as Madame Keui, she was shot and killed in a burglary; villagers even saw her corpse burn on a pyre. Elderly Dr. Siri Paiboun (Slash and Burn, 2011, etc.) is drawn to this odd woman quite by accident. He's settled into marital bliss with the colorful Madame Daeng, but the government has abruptly closed his workplace, the Mahosot Hospital morgue. So Siri keeps busy with pet projects like smuggling refugees to safety. He isn't afraid to thumb his nose at Communist authorities. In fact, a judge dubs him the "cordon bleu of blackmailers" due to his ability to leverage scandals about the regime to achieve his ends. That's very awkward for Siri's tart-tongued former sidekick, Nurse Dtui, who's married to dutiful police inspector Phosy. When Siri is dispatched to the Lao village to supervise the excavation of the corpse of a prominent general's brother, he becomes intrigued with Used-To-Be, and it's anyone's guess whether he's as rapt as the humble villagers or simply ferreting out a mystery.

After Cotterill's hiatus to launch another series set in Thailand (Grandpa, There's a Head on the Beach, 2012, etc.), the return of that glorious curmudgeon Dr. Siri for a ninth escapade is bliss.