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The Coroner's Lunch

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Colin Cotterill

Confronted by the poisoning of an important official's wife and the sudden appearance of three bodies that may create an international incident between Laos and Vietnam, 72-year-old state coroner Dr. Siri Paiboun keeps his cool in Cotterill's … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Historical Fiction, Mystery Books, Colin Cotterill
Author: Colin Cotterill
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Soho Press
1 review about The Coroner's Lunch

Intriguing, atmospheric new series features Laotian coroner

  • Jan 24, 2005
  • by
A British author who lives in Thailand, Cotterill introduces 72-year-old Dr. Siri Paiboun, Laos' reluctant state coroner, a man whose dead subjects visit his dreams. It's 1975 and the new communist government doesn't have much in the way of equipment or supplies. But Siri's job is merely to follow orders and provide an appropriate cause of death.

He is not expected to do any investigating when the wife of a powerful official suddenly dies, or three Vietnamese bodies turn up tortured and drowned, putting a delicate international relationship in jeopardy, and military commanders near a Hmong village begin meeting mysterious deaths. But Siri's rebellious streak flares up, as it always has, and, with a little help from new friends and old colleagues, he pursues each case to its end.

The plot takes a spooky turn in the middle, which is at first disconcerting, but develops into an added dimension to the already haunted Dr. Siri. Siri is a complex, enjoyable character: an old man who'd like to retire, but won't be shunted aside or intimidated; a lonely man with a melancholy side, balanced by sympathy, humor and zest for life; a good communist with a spiritual gift and an irreverent independence.

The setting and atmosphere draw you into Siri's world, where shortages and repression are challenges to circumvent and people are the focus. A wonderful debut.

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