The Merry Misogynist by Colin Cotterill. 263 pages.
Another outing for Dr Siri Paiboun, reluctant coroner and shaman in 1970s communist-run Laos.
This time he has to contend with a serial killer who targets virgins on their wedding night and the disappearance of local eccentric "Crazy Rajid" along with the attempts of the housing department to get him evicted.
I like this series very much - the characters' sense of humour appeals strongly and there is considerable emotional depth too, but the author sometimes makes me uneasy with his treatment of gender issues. In fairness, some of this may be attributed to the place and time where the books are set -1970s Laos is bound to have different attitudes to modern-day England - but I'm not sure that all of it can be written off so.
In this book, the murderer turns out to be an intersex person, and I'm rather uncomfortable with the way the author seems to link this with the mental quirks that turn him into a killer - it's another nasty reinforcement of the "different = dangerous and evil" trope that crops up far too often in murder mysteries as it is. I can only hope that this wasn't what the author actually intended, but in any case it rather soured the ending for me.</cut>