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Thursday 9 June 2016

‘Six and a Half Deadly Sins’ by Colin Cotterill

Published by Soho Crime.
10 May 2016.
ISBN 978-1-6169-5638-7 (PB)

A package arrives addressed to Dr. Siri Paiboun, the retired Laos coroner, containing a pha sin (a knitted dress).  Examining it, he discovers a severed finger sewn into the hem, setting  him, his wife and a friend on a sort of treasure hunt in the northern part of the country in the midst of the beginning of an invasion of Vietnam by China, with PRC troops making incursions into Laos to establish a third front.  To complicate matters, the good doctor and his wife exhibit flu-like symptoms, which continually worsen as the trip progresses.

The object of the trip is to discover who sent the package, which had no return address.  So, traveling from village to village, from weaver to weaver, to identify each package containing another pha sin and a clue sewn into the hem given to him at each location, the trio plod on.  Along the way they encounter an opium-and heroin-smuggling operation and a nasty, murderous foreman of a road-building group sponsored by the Chinese.

All in all, this is another bizarre adventure for Dr. Siri, and he is complemented by his madcap entourage and their caustic humor enabling them to cope with the vagaries of the communist regime in Vientiane.  This time, his sardonic humor doesn’t help him solve the couple of mysteries haunting him. But logic and planning come to the fore.  Lots of fun, and recommended. 
Reviewer:  Theodore Feit

Colin Cotterill is the author of the Dr. Siri series of novels. Born in London, he has taught in Australia, the USA and Japan and lived for many years in Laos where he worked for non-governmental social service organizations. He now writes full-time and lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Ted and Gloria Feit live in Long Beach, NY, a few miles outside New York City.  For 26 years, Gloria was the manager of a medium-sized litigation firm in lower Manhattan. Her husband, Ted, is an attorney and former stock analyst, publicist and writer/editor for, over the years, several daily, weekly and monthly publications.  Having always been avid mystery readers, and since they're now retired, they're able to indulge that passion.  Their reviews appear online as well as in three print publications in the UK and US.  On a more personal note: both having been widowed, Gloria and Ted have five children and nine grandchildren between them.

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