And, as far as clairvoyants are concerned, when it’s all over and the mystery has been solved, they’re back in Vientiane for the party to celebrate transvestite fortune teller Auntie Bpoo’s impending death, an occasion that allows Phosy, Madame Daeng and, of course, Siri to explain the finer points of the solution over Cabernet Sauvignon and Champagne.

I had, leading up to The Woman Who Wouldn't Die been harbouring the suspicion that Cotterill had taken Dr Siri about as far as the characters and their circumstances would allow, but there are a couple of touches that turn up herein that suggest there’s a fair bit of life left in the series as long as the author can come up with a plot scenario that works. If he’s looking for a starting point, of course, there’s always Siri’s ongoing tussle with the housing authorities regarding the number of people living in his house, an issue that produces an interesting solution that helps out the investigation here.

On that basis, after initial misgivings, I’m inclined to see the emergence of Cotterill’s other series, the Jimm Juree stories, as an undoubted good thing. This interview with Cotterill suggests he was starting to get a little formulaic with the Dr Siri tales, and needed the new series to keep things fresh. On the strength of this latest title, which is as good as anything that’s gone before, I’d agree.

© Ian Hughes 2012