A Thai nurse turns sleuth to catch the serial killer plaguing her hospital.
Detective Wiriyai Mookja of the Chiang Mai Royal Police Force visits Ladarat Patalang, a nurse ethicist for Sriphat Hospital, early one Monday morning to solicit her help. When a young woman recently brought her dead husband into the emergency room, a police officer thought he recognized the woman from an identical episode at another hospital. This remarkable coincidence can’t possibly be a coincidence. Ladarat proceeds cautiously, impeded rather than helped by Sisithorn, her annoying new assistant. An additional victim, an American named Andrew Fuller who clings to life in a coma, seems to confirm her direst suspicions. Ladarat’s inquiries shift to the back burner during the time she takes to console Fuller’s family. But the investigation gains the traction and gravitas it deserves when medical records clerk Panit Booniliang finds eight cases at a handful of hospitals with the same pattern, each one under the same name, Zhang Wei—as common a name in Thailand as John Smith is in America—and each married to the same woman. Ladarat’s tall order: find the next targeted Zhang Wei before it’s too late.
The plummy prose of Casarett (Shocked, 2015, etc.) has an appealing formality, with a perpetual undercurrent of drollery. Piquantly titled chapters add verve. The measured introduction of colorful supporting players slows the story down but bodes well for the future of the proposed series.