A few weekends ago P. and I wanted to go out for dinner on Saturday night. We are lucky - Chicago offers so many food options. We wanted something casual, not too expensive and a place we had not been before. We scored with Sabai Dee. A short bike ride from our apartment this restaurant serves Lao cuisine. (If you are in Chicago check it out - it's BYOB as well). The food was spicy and similar to Thai but offering new selections. We really enjoyed it. Plus Sabai Dee is connected to a market which we visited after dinner and picked up some canned iced coffee (brand name "Hello Boss!") and Eggs Rolls (Metropolitan taste!).
Then when I was looking for my next book to read I came across "Anarchy and Old Dogs" which I have had for a while. It was part of my hard-boiled detective story book trip when I wanted to find mysteries set in a different countries. It is set in Laos. Nice coincidence! This is the 4th installment in the series which features Dr. Siri Paiboun as the national coroner and main character. He's older than the usual investigator, very social, and has a great team (an assistant, a connected politician and a friend who is a policeman).
It's not hard to pick up this series on the 4th book. You may not get all the inside jokes but the narrative is strong enough to make for an interesting story. Dr. Paiboun and his crew live in Vientiane which is the capital of Laos. Because the Dr. needs to investigate a plot to overthrow the government and a murder the reader gets to visit other parts of Laos. I enjoyed this book. It has good pacing, humor, friendships, mystery, an unexpected ending, espionage and background into a country I do not know anything about. I will look out for other books in the series or check them out in the library to start this series at the beginning. A good choice if you are looking for a new mystery series.