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The coroner's lunch
Colin Cotterill
Adult Fiction COTTERI

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From Publishers' Weekly:

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 engaging whodunit, set in Laos a year after the 1975 Communist takeover. Ably assisted by the entertaining Geung and ambitious Dtui, Siri calmly gleans clues from minute examinations of the bodies while circumnavigating bureaucratic red tape to arrive at justice. Only an attempt on his life manages to rattle him-and for good reason. In addition to being comfortable around corpses, Siri actually converses with the dead during his dreams. These scenes come across more as a personification of Siri's natural intuition than as a supernatural element. Less explainable is Siri's journey to a northern Laos army base, where he becomes involved in the witchcraft and spirit world of the local tribespeople. Despite this minor detour into the implausible and a later, jarring change in viewpoint, this debut mystery, with its convincing and highly interesting portrayal of an exotic locale, marks the author as someone to watch. Agent, Richard Curtis. (Dec. 15) Forecast: A blurb from S.J. Rozan compares Cotterill to Alexander McCall Smith, whose fans ought to give a boost. The London-born author lives in Chang Mai, Thailand. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

A year or so after the takeover of Laos by the Marxist-Leninist Pathet Lao in 1975, French-educated Dr. Siri Paiboun is appointed state coroner. At first under the thumb of an inept Vientiane judge, the 72-year-old Siri performs autopsies on two suspiciously dead bodies in a morgue with woefully inadequate laboratory supplies; but then his curiosity leads to personal investigations--especially when higher-ups whisk bodies away and steal autopsy reports. Then the bodies of at least two Vietnamese are found in the reservoir, and Siri's true skill emerges. This promising series start features an engaging protagonist, frequent wry humor, and a stark, alien locale. For most collections. Cotterill lives in Chaing Mai, in northern Thailand. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

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main characters Siri Paiboun
Age: 72
Trained in Paris; has visions of dead people's spirits; reluctantly appointed national coroner; investigating the suspicious death of a important official's wife.

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