"Laos, 1979: Dr. Siri Paiboun, the twice-retired ex-National Coroner of Laos, receives an unmarked package in the mail. Inside is a hand-woven pha sin, a colorful traditional skirt worn by women in certain northern Lao tribes. A lovely present, but who sent it to him, and why? And, more importantly, why is there a severed human finger stitched into the sin's lining? Siri is convinced someone is trying to send him a message, and won't let the matter rest until he's figured it out. He finagles himself and his wife a trip up north to the province where the sin was made, not realizing they are embarking on a deadly scavenger hunt. Meanwhile, the northern Lao border is about to erupt into violence. China is at odds with Vietnam over the ongoing war in Cambodia, and the Chinese army is rumored to be poised at the Lao border, waiting to invade one or another of the erstwhile allies. The murder of two village chiefs is about to escalate into an international incident--and Dr. Siri and his entourage are walking right into the heart of the conflict"-- Provided by publisher.