The Second Biggest Nothing is the fourteenth book in the Dr. Siri Paiboun series featuring a Laotian coroner. In this outing, Siri is the target of a revenge plot. He receives a threat, tied to his dog’s tail, in English, which he can’t read, so there is a delay before he reads it. The writer threatens to kill those Siri holds dear before killing Siri.

There is a gathering of journalists to honor the five years of the Laotian government’s existence which Siri calls the second biggest nothing and Siri assumes that the killer might be among them. It becomes even more likely when two journalists are killed in an accident Siri is certain is murder.

Further investigation leads to more than one natural death is actually a murder cleverly managed by this unknown revenge-seeker and Siri and his wife seem rather recklessly insouciant.

I will always remember the thrill of reading “The Coroner’s Lunch.” I had never read anything like it. As the series progresses, the role of magic and spirits became more and more important. The stories became increasingly madcap and comic. Still, the deep moral force that Dr. Siri embodies has always been a strong component. This time, we see that in his stories of the past. Now, though I think he seems, if not tired of life, fully ready for death. I know I would feel much more alarm at the threats than he did.

Sometimes series get tired and become more and more reworking the character’s quirks than presenting a mystery. This release treads on that line. I am not giving up on Dr. Siri, not yet, but I can see the wear and tear starting to show.

The Second Biggest Nothing will be released August 20th. I received an e-galley from the publisher through Edelweiss.