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Dilys Awards Best Book
The national coroner of Laos, Dr. Siri Paiboun, is no respecter of persons or party; at his advanced age he can afford to be independent. With the assistance of his helpers, the mentally retarded Mr. Geung and Nurse Dtui ("Fatty")-who has dubbed him "Super Spirit Doc"-he elucidates the causes of mysterious deaths. But he also communes with the deposed king, whose special channel to the occult has left him, and attends a conference of shamans called by the Communist government to give the spirits an ultimatum: obey party orders or get out.
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