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The Coroner's Lunch

Cotterill, Colin (Book - 2004 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Coroner's Lunch
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The Communist Pathet Lao has taken over this former French colony. Most of the educated class has fled, but Dr. Siri Paiboun, a Paris-trained doctor whose late wife had been an ardent Communist, remains. And so this 72-year-old physician is appointed state coroner, despite the fact that he has no training or even supplies to use in performing his new task. What he does have is curiosity and integrity. At his age he is not about to let a bunch of ignorant bureaucrats dictate to him. One of his first cases involves three bodies recovered from a reservoir, but Dr. Siri establishes that the cause of death was not drowning. These men seem to have been electrocuted, perhaps tortured, and they also seem to be Vietnamese, which could have international repercussions. And then there is the inexplicable death of a Party bigwig's equally important wife. She collapsed and died at a banquet. But Dr. Siri doesn't think her death was from natural causes. In the course of his investigations, Dr. Siri must travel to his birthplace, a Hmong village he has not visited for more than 60 years, where he makes a profound discovery, not only about the motive for several murders, but about himself.
Authors: Cotterill, Colin
Title: The coroner's lunch
Publisher: New York : Soho Press, 2004
Characteristics: iii, 257 p. ;,20 cm
Statement of Responsibility: Colin Cotterill
Summary: The Communist Pathet Lao has taken over this former French colony. Most of the educated class has fled, but Dr. Siri Paiboun, a Paris-trained doctor whose late wife had been an ardent Communist, remains. And so this 72-year-old physician is appointed state coroner, despite the fact that he has no training or even supplies to use in performing his new task. What he does have is curiosity and integrity. At his age he is not about to let a bunch of ignorant bureaucrats dictate to him. One of his first cases involves three bodies recovered from a reservoir, but Dr. Siri establishes that the cause of death was not drowning. These men seem to have been electrocuted, perhaps tortured, and they also seem to be Vietnamese, which could have international repercussions. And then there is the inexplicable death of a Party bigwig's equally important wife. She collapsed and died at a banquet. But Dr. Siri doesn't think her death was from natural causes. In the course of his investigations, Dr. Siri must travel to his birthplace, a Hmong village he has not visited for more than 60 years, where he makes a profound discovery, not only about the motive for several murders, but about himself.
ISBN: 1569474184
9781569474181
9781569473764
1569473765
Branch Call Number: MYSTERY COTTERILL 2004
Subject Headings: Mystery fiction. gsafd Laos Fiction Hmong (Asian people) Fiction Paiboun, Siri, Doctor (Fictitious character) Fiction Coroners Fiction Physicians Fiction Older people Fiction
Genre/Form: Mystery fiction
Historical fiction
Topical Term: Mystery fiction
Hmong (Asian people)
Paiboun, Siri, Doctor (Fictitious character)
Coroners
Physicians
Older people
LCCN: 2004048191
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Dr. Siri Paiboun, a Paris-trained doctor has been appointed state coroner, despite the fact that he has no training or even supplies to use in performing his new task. What he does have is curiosity and integrity and at his age he is not about to let a bunch of ignorant bureaucrats dictate to ... Read More »

Cotterill introduces the reader to Laos through the eyes of an aged coroner who is called upon to become an investigator.

"This series kickoff is an embarrassment of riches: Holmesian sleuthing, political satire, and [a] droll comic study of a prickly late bloomer."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


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Mar 22, 2013
  • carolannbagan rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

very funny book even if it is about a coroner in laos. it's still makes you laugh.

Apr 19, 2012
  • savtadina rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Excellent read! The author writes descriptions of people, some scenery, that makes me clearly see what he is describing. I learned about Laos in the mid-1970s. The author also let up the mysteries extremely well with a lot of slow thoughtful parts and a lot happening at the end.

Jan 22, 2012
  • shapjul rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This is the first in a series of mysteries set in Laos. That's not a country I know very much about. It's a delight to read--strong characters and good plotting. The author doesn't use long expository paragraphs but nevertheless creates a clear impression of the place. I suppose it is mostly atmospheric rather than truly literal, but I found it very vivid. I look forward to the rest in the series--there's a lot that is set up in the one that could develop further.

I read this after reading Killed At The Whim of A Hat, Cotterill's most recent novel. That one starts a different series (or maybe it is just freestanding.)

Oct 31, 2010
  • dentarthurdent rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

First in a series of mysteries featuring a healthy dose of humor and an intriguing peek into the culture of Laos, along with a cast of very engaging characters.

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