The Rat Catchers' Olympics

The Rat Catchers' Olympics

Book - 2017
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"1980: The Democratic People's Republic of Laos is proud to be competing in its first-ever Olympics. Of course, half the world is boycotting the Moscow Summer Olympic Games to protest Russia's recent invasion of Afghanistan, but that has made room for athletes from countries that are usually too small or underfunded to be competitive--countries like Laos. Ex-national coroner of Laos Dr. Siri Paiboun may be retired, but he and his wife, Madame Daeng, would do just about anything to have a chance to visit Moscow, so Siri finagles them the job of medical oversight for the Olympians. Most of the athletes are young and innocent village people who have never worn shoes, never mind imagined anything as marvelous as the Moscow Olympic Village. As the competition heats up, however, Siri begins to suspect that one of the athletes is not who he says he is. Fearing a conspiracy, Siri and his friends investigate, liaising in secret with Inspector Phosy back home in Laos to see if the man might be an assassin. But Siri's progress is derailed when another Lao Olympian is accused of murder. Now in the midst of a murky international incident, Dr. Siri must navigate not one but two paranoid and secretive government machines to make sure justice is done"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York, NY :, Soho Crime,, [2017]
ISBN: 9781616958251
1616958251
Characteristics: 278 pages ; 22 cm

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t
Travel
Nov 12, 2017

This latest of the Siri Paiboun series is not as compelling as many of the earlier ones. I miss the supernatural element that runs through the earlier books, which were also funnier. And I especially miss the character of Laos itself, and it's neighbours - Cambodia and Vietnam. That said, the series is one of my all time favourites.

j
jeffreyochsner
Oct 21, 2017

I highly recommend this series! Even if you think you are not interested in Laos, please give it a try! It is very important that the series be read in order (start with The Coroner's Lunch). The whole series is clever and funny, and I love the characters!

Most of this book takes place in Moscow during the 1980 Olympics. As you recall, the US led a boycott of the Olympics that year in protest of the Soviet Union's war in Afghanistan (ironic, isn’t it?). When all those nations pulled out, the Soviet Union decided to invite countries that had never participated in the Olympics before, including Laos. As it was rather last minute, Laos had to pull together an Olympic team of shooters, boxers and runners (and one race walker, who was kind of a fluke). Dr. Siri (the nation's coroner) manages to get himself selected as team doctor, and many of our favorite characters travel to Moscow with the Laotian Olympic team.

Suffice it to say that the Laotian delegation participates in the Olympic activities with enormous enthusiasm, and they embrace the luxuries of a wealthier society. There is also a mystery to solve that overlaps between Laos and Moscow. The plot is clever, and there are several things in this book that made me laugh out loud! All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I give it at least 4.5 stars. But please do not start with this book if you have not read the previous ones, or you will probably be lost.

JCLCourtneyS Oct 03, 2017

This series is always a lot of fun, with its zany cast of characters and their improbable but entertaining adventures. The 1970s Laos setting is almost a character in itself. If you prefer to read in order, start with The Coroner's Lunch--I think the earlier books are even better, too.

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