Thursday, 31 March 2011

Curse of the Pogo Stick

by Colin Cotterill

If anyone needed another proof that it’s perfectly acceptable to judge a book on the basis of its name, here’s the one. I saw this book in the library and thought it may be good. (With chapter titles like “Non-practicing atheists” and “Coitus interruptus”, it must be.) It turned out to be exceptionally good. I don’t read much crime fiction but this one is something else. Guaranteed to make you smile all the way till the reasonably happy end.
Some people just die. Siri had come to that conclusion after many years of careful observation. They don’t necessarily die of anything, they just get old, everything gives up, and they pass away. It’s as simple as that. There are those who describe it as dying of old age but that puts old age in the same category as bubonic plague and the Black Death. There really is nothing dangerous about old age and there's no reason to be afraid of it. It certainly hadn’t done Dr. Siri any harm. He’d been passing through its hallowed halls for some years and it hadn’t killed him.

Comrade Singsai had passed away in his sleep during an excruciatingly long speech discussing the allocation of cattle. It was rather sad that his last memory on earth might have been how to encourage bulls to increase their semen count. But he was old and he’d endured a full life. He hadn’t been able to summon the energy to pull himself out of a pleasant dream and back into that never-ending conference. Who could blame him? Siri was sorely tempted to write ‘He just died’ on the death certificate but he knew that wouldn’t satisfy anyone.

Curse of the Pogo Stick (Dr. Siri Paiboun)

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