The eccentric Dr Siri investigates

2010-01-13 00:00

BOOK REVIEW

Anarchy and Old Dogs – A Dr Siri Investigation

Colin Cotterill

Quercus

COLIN Cotterill is a master storyteller with a sense of absurd wit which had me giggling every few pages.

I quickly warmed to the clever and wise Dr Siri, an ageing pathologist in a backwater town, who is yet to lose any of his marbles. His grumblings about the present regime in the ­communist state of Laos are quickly called into question when he ­stumbles across a plot to overthrow the government, and he realises that he is more patriotic then he had thought.

The action begins when the corpse of a blind dentist, who was smacked by a truck, enters his morgue. Siri finds a coded note in the man’s pocket and begins to unravel some of the ­details of the treason.

As the good doctor sets off on a ­rollicking adventure, he solves a few other crimes along the way and ­rediscovers a long-lost friend.

A man with a mystical bend, Siri — against his better judgment — ­also consults with an obnoxious trans­vestite fortune teller who leads him to believe the fates have a firm plan for his remaining years on Earth.

Will Siri save Laos from those who want to claim it for their own? How reliable can untrue love be? And what do the river dolphins show him, when he descends into the deep, riding on the back of one with a reckless ­abandon?

A fantastic read, with a surprising twist in its tail.

Fans of Alexander McCall Smith’s No 1 Ladies Detective Agency should read this very entertaining novel. It has a similar feel, yet Siri’s voice ­remains uniquely his own.

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