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In the engaging fifth entry in Cotterill's unusual crime series set in 1970s Laos (after 2007's Anarchy and Old Dogs), members of the Hmong tribe, an oppressed minority, spirit away coroner Siri Paiboun, for whom marriage looms, to aid in an exorcism revolving around the titular pogo stick. Cotterill sympathetically depicts the Hmong's plight, striking a good balance between comedy and seriousness. The autopsy and investigation into the death of an unknown soldier booby-trapped with a grenade add intrigue. Readers will welcome such familiar characters as Madame Daeng, lab assistant Mr. Gueng and Nurse Dtui, though their perspectives tend to distract from Dr. Siri's predicament. The time spent with the Hmong, not the attendant mysteries, provides the most satisfaction. (Aug.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.