According to many famous authors, there are rules about writing mysteries. I haven't any use for them, though; it seems like there must be something wrong with me. My favorite mysteries get all mystical and impenetrable and require obscure knowledge of the workings of Communist Lao-produced muskets if I'm going to beat the detective to the killer. Unlikely.
But oh, so good! Slash and Burn is the most recent Dr. Siri mystery from Colin Cotterill, and I swear they're getting better. There was a weird dip in the second through fourth books where the supernatural stuff got all trippy and weird and I couldn't quite get my head around them. But although Siri's spiritual stowaway Yeh Ming makes an appearance in this book, it's much more about the mystery.
There's some great cross-cultural humor with a bunch of Americans; a reappearance by Auntie Bpoo, the cross-dressing psychic; development in the love lives of our loveable morgue staff; and Siri's showing his age, both in exhaustion and irreverence.
I am having so much fun reading this book that I had to force myself not to finish it on the bus ride home last night so I could write this post with all the pent-up enthusiasm I was saving. I know that it will slide away quickly when I'm finished, but for now, I really want to go drinking in the Laotian jungle with Siri, Daeng, Civilai, and Geung. I love these guys; isn't that exactly what you're looking for in a series of books?