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Love Songs From a Shallow Grave (Dr Siri Paiboun Mystery 7) Paperback – 29 Apr 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (29 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849160457
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849160452
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.4 x 21.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 607,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Colin Cotterill is the author of the Dr. Siri series of novels. Born in London, he has taught in Australia, the USA and Japan and lived for many years in Laos where he worked for non-governmental social service organizations. He now writes full-time and lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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From the Back Cover

As usual, all is abnormal in Dr Siri Paiboun's morgue. The good doctor and his team are investigating the case of the Three Epees: three women skewered by a sword through the heart. A culprit has been apprehended, tried and sentenced to death. But Siri isn't sure they have the right man. Unfortunately, the number one (and only) coroner of Laos isn't in a position to help anyone - not even himself. As his birthday dawns, Siri finds himself incarcerated and staring starvation and torture in the face. As usual, his curiosity is to blame for his predicament, but this time it looks as though his inquisitiveness could be the end of him...

About the Author

Colin Cotterill was born in London. He has taught in Australia, the USA and Japan and lived for many years in Laos where he worked for nongovernmental social service organizations. He now writes full-time and lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Colin won the 2009 CWA Dagger in the Library for the Dr Siri series of novels.


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer VINE VOICE on 27 May 2010
Format: Paperback
Is it finally the end of the line for the 74 year old Dr Siri? He finds himself at the start of this book handcuffed to a lead pipe alongside a corpse. His protective amulet torn from around his neck. Elsewhere a clerk is writing up his obituary....

Every time I finish a Dr Siri mystery I go to Colin Cotterill's website to check if there will be another in this excellent series. He is starting to build up quite a band of loyal followers and I am coming across more and more people in on the secrets of Laos' chief coroner. Cotterill adds touches of backstory in this book, so although it is number seven in a series you do not need to have read the rest to enjoy this book. Like all the other books in this series this one is an extra special treat to anyone who has visited this part of South East Asia, as the author uses real places, real history and a lot of local colour as the backbone to his story.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Barnaby Richard Evans on 23 May 2010
Format: Paperback
I guess it had to happen - Dr Siri visits Cambodia in this book. As well written as the others in the series - this one has a dark edge not encountered in previous episodes. For anyone who has read "Evil In The Land Without" and "Pool and its role in Asian Communism" then you will know that Colin Cotterill can tackle difficult - painful - subjects amazingly well. The therapeutic effects of dying horribly - indeed. Well worth reading and well worth taking your time over.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Cameron-Smith TOP 500 REVIEWER on 30 July 2010
Format: Paperback
Dr Siri Paiboun is being tormented by a recurring nightmare which ends in his death. But when he is awake, life goes on in its usual abnormal way in Laos. It's 1978 and Dr Siri is still the only coroner in Laos. Three women, each of whom has studied abroad in an Eastern bloc country, have been skewered on épées. Dr Siri and his trusty band are on the case.

But before he can solve the case, Dr Siri takes a trip to Cambodia and the world of the Khmer Rouge. Will Dr Siri survive? And will the case of the three épées be solved? Granted, it's hard to think about the case when Dr Siri is celebrating his 74th birthday in hell, but the flashbacks to Vientiane bring us up to date with Madame Daeng (Dr Siri's wife of three months), Nurse Dtui's motherhood and Mr Geung's new hairstyle.

It's difficult to say more about the novel without venturing into spoiler territory. So I'll confine myself to observing that while the wry humour that I've enjoyed in the preceding six Dr Siri novels is still present in parts, it is largely overshadowed by Dr Siri's incursion into the nightmare world of the Khmer Rouge. As Dr Siri realises, while wandering around the wasteland that was Phnom Penh, `If Big Brother could destroy literature and history, he could destroy lives.' Will Dr Siri survive his own insatiable curiosity?

This is the seventh Dr Siri mystery. It's worth reading them in order but not absolutely essential.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By kaf20 on 28 Jan. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I love the Dr Siri series. Like his other books this one has a cracking cast of characters, a rip roaring plot and the tremendously interesting setting of 1970s Laos. I actually think this is the best so far though. Two reasons - 1)there is less about the spiritual world which i have not enjoyed as much as Siri's "real world" (not to say i don't enjoy Siri's encounters with ghosts etc., I just love all the alive characters so much that i want more of them!) 2) Siri makes a trip to Cambodia and what he encounters there is written about in a stunning way. Please hurry up with no. 8.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I received the first book in this series as a Christmas present and have bought and read each of them in order. This is number 7, the number of completeness. I tried not to read too much into that but could it be the end of Siri.

This is a very entertaining series written with great affection for 1970's Laos soon after the civil war and the communist takeover. Despite the privations there is still a sense of fun in the morgue presided over by Dr Siri - unlikely as it may seem. They are books which make me smile as I read but this one was different.

There is a dark side to this one, a very dark side and it is in that darkness that the story begins, Dr Siri in a torture cell. The narrative then alternates between the main story of an epee' serial killer on the loose in the former American enclave in Vientiane; and Dr Siri relating what is happening to him as an 'honoured guest' of the Khmer Rouge in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. There is a stark contrast between these two 'worlds' and the use of an italics typeface for Siri's personal account emphasises that contrast.

What happened in Laos in the 1970's never made news headlines in the UK but what happened in the Cambodian killing fields did. It is almost as if reality has stomped into the surreal world of Dr Siri. I hated to turn a page and seeing that the next page was in italics, so much so that I during the couple of days that it took me to read the book I never interrupted my reading at the end of a section in italics. I had to read the next chapter to lighten the mood.

In the hands of a less skilfull author this could have been a very bad book of ill-fitting parts. But it's not it is an excellent and witty tale of detection in Laos assiduously tempered by the ghastly record of horror in Cambodia and how Siri's investigative instinct brought him to such grim circumstances. A really good story, well told. As for the number of perfection, wait and see.
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