A gentle, amusing insight into the world of a state coroner in a corrupt Communist country. This is much more than your average murder mystery, with aspects of tribal ceremonies, love and true friendship all helping to solve the crime.
Assuming the necessary chemicals were available at Lycee Vientiane's chemistry department, Siri could usually eliminate fifty possible causes of death, but still be left with a hundred and fifty others.
So it was hardly surprising, when four-thirty came around, that he hadn't the foggiest idea what had killed Mrs Nitnoy. He could give a list as long as your distal tibia of things that hadn't. She hadn't been hit by a train (as there were none in Laos). She hadn't been shot, stabbed, suffocated, or had her limbs severed by an army launch. But as she'd been in a crowded room when she died, these were no great discoveries.