Richard Derus's Reviews > Anarchy and Old Dogs

Anarchy and Old Dogs by Colin Cotterill
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's review
Apr 09, 2012

really liked it

Rating: -14,975* of five

The Book Report: Fourth of the Dr. Siri Investigations series set in 1970s Laos, post-Vietnam War era. Dr. Siri and his best pal since jungle-fighting revolutionary youth, Comrade Civilai the Politburo senior cadre and all-around curmudgeon, uncover a major problem in the course of an investigation into the death of an old blind dentist whose habit of coming by bus to Vientiane, the capital, to pick up a letter written in invisible ink every week is interrupted by a runaway logging truck. The widow, far from grieving, is damn near slobbering to get the letter away from Siri. This makes him wonder....

So Siri, Civilai, Nurse Dtui, and Comrade Policeman Phosy (Mr. Geung, the Down-syndrome-having morgue assistant, is still recovering from dengue fever from last book) are set on a collision course with modern Laos's first attempted counter-coup by Royalists based across the Mekong River in Thailand. Siri also solves the murder of a small boy, a troublemaking 1970s version of Siri himself I suspect, is betrayed, finds a long-lost revolutionary-era gal-pal of his and his wife's, is betrayed again, and suffers the pangs of later-life love. In the end, of course, the murder of the dentist, the murder of the small boy, and the pair of betrayals are interconnected by Cotterill's undeniable panache in plotting. And, well, love is in the August, 1977, air....

My Review: ...but none of it is comin' from me. Anyone who has read my outraged screech of a review of The Brutal Telling by Lousy Louise Penny will remember how bitterly I responded to her ripping out my heart and shredding it into gobbets, then pouring boiling salted vinegar into the still-living cavity she left, with the character development that ends the book. I rated it -15,000*. I give Crummy Colin Cotterill 25 more stars because the ripping, shredding, and pouring were very slightly ameliorated by the in-book resolution to the main betrayal, and the sheer rightness of the second betrayal that ends so happily, and by the whimsical pleasure of the love affair for Dr. Siri.

Plus there's Auntie Bpoo, the transvestite shaman who works the riverside in front of the Aeroflot office, of whom I devoutly hope to see more.

*gets out voodoo dolly in Cotterill's likeness to inflict severe tooth pain on him for forseeable future*
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
April 6, 2012 – Finished Reading
April 9, 2012 – Shelved

Comments (showing 1-2)

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message 2: by Stephen (new)

Stephen I really need to read this series. You make it sound painfully good.

Richard Derus Nigel Anthony reads it on's edition...The Coroner's Lunch is first...they're really really good....

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