Disco for the Departed (Dr Siri Paiboun Mystery 3) Paperback – 2 Oct 2008
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Colin Cotterill made a considerable impression with his previous novel The Coroner's Lunch, a book that succeeded in being something entirely new in the crime fiction field. His protagonist, the elderly coroner, Dr Siri Paiboun, was something unusual in the genre: in his 70s, but still immensely sharp, struggling with his career in the 1970s as the only coroner in Laos, a country which is a hotbed of dishonesty and corruption.
That book won the author many friends, with favourable comparisons being made to the novels of Alexander McCall Smith (but always in Cotterill's favour his narratives wear a darker hue than that of the more cosy world of McCall Smith). And here is Dr Siri again in the equally diverting Disco for the Departed, which is in fact, the third outing for one of the most entertaining crime protagonists around. Siri finds himself summoned to the mountains of Huaphan Province -- the very region where the totalitarian Communist rulers of the country hid from the authorities before their own accession to power. But as celebrations are underway for the success of the new regime (which, of course, can do no wrong), a human arm is discovered sticking out of a concrete walk, which has been laid from the president's cave hideout to his splendid new home under the cliffs. Siri is handed the job of uncovering the arm (and the body to which it is attached) and identifying the corpse. His autopsy reveals that the body was buried alive, but in order to track down the killer, the elderly pathologist has to call on some of his supernatural skill (which readers will remember from the earlier books and the one element of Cotterills work that some of his admirers have an ambiguous attitude towards). What Siri uncovers is a very rich brew of mysteries.
This is almost as entertaining as the previous novels in the series; Cotterills worthy protagonist is as intriguing as ever, as he tackles both government indifference and nasty killers. And it's hard to believe that even a more serious book on this subject could conjure up the country of Laos -- in all its beauty and corruption -- as strikingly as Cotterill does here. --Barry Forshaw. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A wonderfully fresh and exotic mystery - New York Times Book Review (New York Times)
an embarrassment of riches: Holmesian sleuthing, political satire, and a droll comic study of a prickly late bloomer - Kirkus (starred review) (Kirkus)
The story is good, the characters interesting, the hero delightful and the setting fascinating: a find - Literary Review (Literary Review)
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Top Customer Reviews
The body turns out to be that of a Cuban attached to a nearby "advisory" unit. After establishing Dr. Siri's credentials as a spirit host/medium in the first two books, it comes as no surprise that this adventure finds him tangled up with the Caribbean spirit world of santeria. While the villain of this storyline, which involves a beautiful Vietnamese girl and doomed love, is rather obvious, there's still plenty to like. The history of the caves is fascinating, the corpses to be investigated very unusual, and the bureaucratic red tape both comic and instructive. Meanwhile, Nurse Dtui is given her own subplots, including a stint heading up a hospital treating mine victims, and an unexpected romantic proposal. Meanwhile, back in Vientiane, morgue assistant Mr. Geung is exiled to a northern work camp by a nefarious judge with an axe to grind with Dr. Siri. The determined Geung resolves to escape and make his way the hundreds of miles back, leading to adventures that are variously droll and deadly.
As in the two previous books. Dr.Read more ›
Like most detective stories the plots are stretched, but the characters are so believable and such fun that it doesn't.t matter.
Also the Lao setting adds an extra layer of interest. Dr Siri was my bedtime reading discovery of the year.
Siri is just such a lovely character and the observations about the administration in Laos and the corruption are written so that you are aware of the reality yet can smile at the ridiculousness of it all.
The books remind me a bit of Alexander McColl Smith's No 1 lady detective in their great observation of people but thee have slightly grittier stories.
This is the 3rd in the series and I am working my way through them enjoying the stories and sharing Sir's world as I love the writing style and slightly tongue in cheek observations of life in Communist Laos.
Dr. Siri and Dturi have been sent to a "guest house" at revolutionary headquarters in the mountains of Huaphan province to attend a seminar intended to provide them with an `enlightened" understanding of the Marxist-Leninist system. What they did not expect was for an arm to be discovered rising out of a concrete path. The arm was attached to the body of a man who'd been encased in the concrete while still alive. Siri also did not expect, at 73, to find himself dancing to disco music only he could hear, nor for the Russian to whom Siri and Dturi reported back in Vientiane to ship their mortuary assistant, Geung off to Xieng Ngeim without their knowing.
It is always a pleasure to be back with Dr. Siri and friends. They truly are some of my favorite characters and it was particularly nice to learn more of mortuary assistant Geung's background. Cotterill worked in an interesting point through Siri's friend, Dr. Santiago who believes in shamans and the spirit world, that some form of shamanism is common to most cultures of the world outside those of European origin. Points such as that remind us the world is one filled with diverse philosophies and beliefs beyond our own; one of the gifts of reading.
Cotterill's writing is filled with wonderful dialogue and humor, yet he also makes me think. Rather than the supernatural element being for the sake of fantasy, Cotteriall uses it to serious purpose--to make a point such as the impact of war on its innocent victims; those who just happen to live in the wrong place. He also makes us aware that bigotry exists in every country.
The story is one of relationships and loyalty.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have thoroughly enjoyed the characters and story-line in all the series of books so far.Published 16 months ago by C. Sweeney
Dr Siri is fast becoming my favourite detective. His character develops more depth with each succeeding novel and this is the third in the series. He doesn't disappoint.Published 16 months ago by Sandra Anthony
The second novel in the Dr. Sirius series builds on the central characters and adds more insights into Laos, Vietnamese and Hmong lore but best of all it is a compelling read!Published 18 months ago by Re. Paula Robinson
another brilliant dr siri novel. I haven't read all of them yet but 33 teeth and disco for the departed are my favourites. Charming, magical, exciting, intriguing, just great! Read morePublished 20 months ago by Jasmine
Another classic from Dr Siri.the usual inventive plot, with a sprinkling of dry humour. A good read.Published 21 months ago by KG
I found this Dr Siri book was very interesting. The story moved quickly and had many intriguing twist and turns. I would recommend this book to my friendsPublished 24 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is the third book in the series - I love them! They are quirky and funny and the characters are very well drawn. Read morePublished on 24 Aug. 2014 by Aileen Latona