While there is general madcap feeling about the book, it also shows the Communists practices in late 1970s Laos. Dr.Siri believes that communism would do overall good to people if they came to it on their own accord rather than being coerced to it. Communism and Religion don't go together. We have here not just religion here but religious superstition too- Black Magic, shamans, sacrificial altars, women who give birth to apes and spirits that take hosts in other bodies.
The mystery is interesting and I didn't guess who is responsible for all these problems. It is a very different kind of mystery and is fun. Now I think I have to read Alexander McCall Smith's African detective stories, as Colin Cotterill's books are compared to them.