Saturday, October 29, 2011

CURSE OF THE POGO STICK by Colin Cotterill

Dr. Siri Paiboun is a good man.

In Colin Cotterill’s Curse of the Pogo Stick, Paiboun exorcises a demon from a Hmong loved-one. Never mind that he uses his medical skill to do it. And never mind that the Hmong are a dying Laotian hill tribe Paiboun’s Communists want to destroy.

Curse of the Pogo Stick tells two parallel stories: Paiboun’s story, and the story of Paiboun’s nurse Dtui and those around her. The Hmong kidnap Paiboun, the national coroner of Laos. Because he hosts an ancient spirit, Yeh Ming, they think he can heal their leader’s demon-possessed daughter.

Meanwhile, Dtui, Dtui’s husband, and Paiboun’s fiancée face a different kind of attack. Someone sends a bobby-trapped corpse to the morgue. The whole thing turns out to be a Royalist plot. Paiboun’s associates are cleverer than they appear, so finally, all is well.

By the close of the book Paiboun marries his fiancée who gleefully acknowledges that she is willing to share him with another woman who loves him too.  (No kidding! That’s where this story comes out.)

The Dr. Siri Paiboun books are wonderful books. At first I enjoyed them for their unusual late-1970s Laotian setting. Now I have come to admire Paiboun and his friends.
I recommend the Dr. Siri Paiboun series.

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