Recommendations for murder mysteries set in a foreign country.

  • The Temptation for Forgiveness by Donna Leon.   The 27th book in the series.  This time Inspector Brunetti is asked by a friend of his wife who suspects her son is using illegal drugs to investigate the son.  A week later the husband is injured in what appears to be an assault.   As Brunetti digs, the story gets more involved and confusing. 
  • Death in Vienna by Frank Tallis.  A murder mystery set in early 1900’s Vienna.  A police inspector, Oskar Reinhardt, has asked, Max Libermann, medical doctor/psychologist to help him in solving crimes.  This time Max & Oskar deal with a murder that has taken place inside a locked room. Set against the backdoor of Vienna before the first World War, this novel gives a sense of place and the emerging field of psychology and the minefields that one may encounter when investigating murder.
  • Murder in the Marais by Cara Black.   A murder mystery set in Paris in 1993.  A private investigator, Aimee Ludec is asked to investigate a mystery that dated back to the German occupation of Paris during 1943. Aimee is offered a job by the Jewish Community center but her task gets complicated quickly as many of her contacts are murdered. Her quest to find a German who served in Paris during WW2 gets her involved in current day politics.

The Coroner’s Lunch by Colin Cotterill. The first in a series of about 14 novels set in Laos starting in the mid-1970’s when Laos is taken over by the Laotian Communists. Dr. Siri Paiboun has served as a medical doctor to the Laotian Communists while they have fighting the government. He trained in France. He became a communist because his wife was one. He is not an ideological person, he has just focused on being a doctor. After the fall of the king of Laos, Dr. Siri is ready to retire. Unfortunately for him, he is asked to become the coroner for the entire country as most of the medical professionals fled to Thailand when the communists took over.

Dr. Siri does not suffer fools gladly. He focuses on being a coroner and solving murder mysteries when they present themselves. He also has a cast of interesting characters to work with. He and an old comrade have a love of foreign films and books. As the book progresses, Dr. Siri has to cope with shortages of basic supplies, interference from the Vietnamese and general incompetence of the new ruling class. A thoroughly enjoyable murder mystery set in a mysterious locale.

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