The Merry Misogynist (Dr Siri Paiboun Mystery 6) Paperback – 29 Apr 2010
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Many a crime fiction reader sighs with resignation when they encounter something over-familiar in the genre they love 'Oh, no!' is the lament, 'Not that plot again!' Or not that kind of character or even locale. Those individuals suffering from such crime fiction fatigue can happily turn to the eccentric and unusual novels of Colin Cotterill, confident in the knowledge that they won’t encounter anything that is clichéd or shop-worn. As his latest book, The Merry Misogynist, reminds us, one can confidently expect that he is quite unlike any other author in the field, delivering quirky, brilliantly plotted (and often hilarious) filigrees of invention that rejuvenate the tired police investigation novel.
As admirers will know, his investigator, the elderly Dr Siri Paiboun, is a truly memorable creation, a dogged, honest official in the often lunatic world of 1970s Laos who (along with his trusty morgue team) painstakingly uncovers the truths behind some elaborately concealed killings. In the new book, girls from the country are being married and then savagely murdered, their bodies tied to trees. In previous cases, Siri has often taken on his assignments reluctantly, but the thought of this ruthless monster cutting a swathe through his victims inspires him to bring all his unorthodox methods to bear in tracking down the killer. But the investigation is almost derailed by a figure called Crazy Rajid. Rajid, a fey figure on the fringes of society, has been experiencing flashes that warn him he is in considerable danger. A dual investigation -- and a sorting out of some baffling and highly misleading clues -- leads Siri and his team into an encounter with dark secrets of the past and a centuries-old temple in Vientiane.
Readers who have enjoyed such delightful earlier entries from Colin Cotterill as Anarchy and Old Dogs and Curse of the Pogo Stick (Cotterill's titles echoes the surrealistic humour of his books) will know what to expect from this latest entry; it’s quite as bizarrely diverting as its predecessors. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
'Cotterill's novels have richer plots than Alexander McCall Smith's African detective stories, but the same comic charm' Sunday Times. (Sunday Times)
'...an odd sort of joy to read . his love of south-east Asia is everywhere evident, lending his writing an elegance and poignancy - beautiful exotic imagery, a pleasing wry patter to his characters' speech. The series has been commended for its humanity and intrigue and the latest instalment won't disappoint' City AM. (City AM)
'Witty dialogue and engaging characters, especially the irrepressible Siri, who becomes more lovable with each appearance. The combination of humour, social commentary and a clever mystery make this one of the most enjoyable books I've read all year' Sunday Telegraph. (Sunday Telegraph)
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Top Customer Reviews
Dr Siri is distracted as well by the disappearance of Crazy Rajid. How do you begin to track an itinerant mute? Rajid has left a trail of elaborate clues which may assist, but time is of the essence. And, of course, the housing problem needs to be addressed or the people Dr Siri allows to stay in his government-allocated accommodation will be homeless.
Despite these distractions, Dr Siri and his intrepid gang (including Nurse Dtui, Madame Gaeng, Phosy, Civilai and Mr Geung) are all focussed on trying to identify the serial killer who is wooing and wedding - and then killing - young country girls.
This is the sixth in the Dr Siri series, and is simply wonderful. I read it in one day because I simply couldn't put it down. There was less of the supernatural element in this novel, which I found made it easier to focus on the story itself. It seems, too, that Dr Siri is rejuvenated by his marriage and may well continue to be Laos's reluctant national coroner for some time. I hope so.
In this one, we have two mysteries, a missing friend (sort of friend) and a psychotic serial killer. To be perfectly honest, I do not read Colin's books for the structure of the mystery itself. I read them for their delightful characters, the languid setting, the picture he draws so well of a conflicted land where you constantly have to make compromises in order to survive. And of course that wonderful polyester clad world of the Comintern and socialist brotherhood. The Pathet Lao are rather inept and unsophisticated oppressors, but still dangerous. You have to watch what you say and where you go, otherwise you'll end up in a re-education camp. You always have a choice of taking your chances in the refugee camps in Thailand, just across the river. Or you can try your luck surviving in the Socialist regime and dream of going to Eastern Europe.
If you're new to the series start from the first book.
A sprightly old man whose body carries the spirit of an ancient shaman, he sees dead bodies both figuratively and literally as he is Laos chief, and only coroner.
His repartee with his friends and colleagues and his relationship with his new wife are all so believable. Though their work is not very pleasant, Dr Siri's impish behaviour always lightens the mood.
It makes for light but enjoyable reading and I have the next one bought already.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have enjoyed all Siri's adventures in the 6 books I've read so far. I didn't want to put this one down!Published 8 months ago by Mrs Sharon Bowen
Dr. Siri is such an interesting character. Really good readPublished 19 months ago by Beryl Vickery
The Dr Siri series just gets better. Great humour. Sounds a cliché - but life affirming. Up there with Alexander McCall Smith.Published on 29 Dec. 2013 by John
I took this book on holiday with me and once I started reading it I couldn't put it down. I have read others in this series and enjoyed them all.Published on 3 Dec. 2013 by Sandra
Fantastic detective style book but really well-written and gives an insight into life in Laos with a bunch of charming, clever older folks as our heroesPublished on 20 Feb. 2013 by C. Dhanjal
This book in the Dr Siri series is another delightful read. The characters become increasingly interesting and the mysteries more and more intriguing. Read morePublished on 4 Feb. 2013 by Case N. V