Dr. Siri Paiboun is summoned to the mountains of Huaphan Province, where for years the leaders of the current communist government hid in caves, waiting to assume power. Now a major celebration of the new regime is scheduled to take place, but an arm is found protruding from the concrete walk laid from the president’s former cave hideout to his new house beneath the cliffs. Siri must supervise the disinterment of the body attached to the arm, identify it, and determine the cause of death.
The autopsy provides some surprises, but it is his gifts as a shaman that enable the 73-year-old doctor to discover why the victim was buried alive and to identify the killer.
©2006 Colin Cotterill (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Purely entertaining…Elements of the ritualistic killings are pretty gross and the spooks can be scary; but as the author gently points out, life would be dreary without a few thrills.” (New York Times Book Review)
I really enjoy the mixture of medical detail, shamanism, political information and vivid characters. I have now read three of the series and am putting off the treat of the next one, since I want them to last!
The plot switches back and forth between two different intersecting stories involving the three most familiar characters. Great for listening - the voices were brilliant.
Not necessarily - too much of a good thing
I love this series. Each book stands alone, but you'd be best advised to start at the beginning, not here, with book three. Unfortunately, the first, "The Coroner's Lunch," is currently unavailable at Audible. What up with that? I've got it in my Audible library. If I could just give it to everyone, I would.
These stories take place three decades after the communist takeover in Laos, after the disaster of the Vietnam War created the problem it was designed to prevent - the spread of an obsolete and cruel ideology. Operating within it is the wonderful Dr. Siri. He knows communism is a failure, but he does his elderly best to be a good man in a bad system. The writing is wonderful, and the stories - all mysteries - are complex, funny and life affirming. They've made me love Laos and its people.
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