I've thoroughly enjoyed reading the Dr. Siri Paiboun mystery series by Colin Cotterill.
This is one of the best. At first I could not understand how the undertaking of a movie could connect to the main mystery, but Cotterill did a masterful job of uniting it and other themes in this book.
The characters have been very well developed in this series, and the quirkiness of the people continue, but most importantly, I've learned a tremendous amount about Laos in modern times. The focus in this book is on the trade of animals and animal parts with thorough disregardful for animals' treatment as well as how corrupt the political and civil system continue to be, under the communist system too. I traveled to SE Asia five years ago and really loved Laos and the people. Laos is still one of the few remaining officially communist countries in the world. I strongly recommend this series and it is best to begin with the first book, The Coroner's Lunch.