cover image The Woman Who Wouldn’t Die

The Woman Who Wouldn’t Die

Colin Cotterill. Soho Crime, $25 (320p) ISBN 978-1-61695-206-8

Cotterill has never been better than in this ninth outing for acerbic Dr. Siri Paiboun (after 2011’s Slash and Burn), set in Laos in October 1978. A judge who heads the country’s public prosecution department asks Siri, who has recently retired as Laos’s coroner, to look into a bizarre case. The minister of agriculture’s wife has hired Madame Keui—a witch dubbed the “used-to-be woman,” because she’s alive and kicking two months after her corpse was consigned to a funeral pyre—to help lay to rest the ghost of the minister’s brother, believed to have been killed on a covert op in 1969. Siri, who views the boundary between the natural and the supernatural worlds as porous, soon finds himself in the midst of the most baffling murder case of his career. The action builds to an ingenious resolution. A subplot adds a nice layer of depth to the character of Siri’s wife, Madame Daeng. (Feb.)