The Coroner's Lunch

By Colin Cotterill,

Book cover of The Coroner's Lunch

Book description

In Laos in the year 1976, the monarchy has been deposed, and the Communist Pathet Lao have taken over. Most of the educated class has fled, but Dr Siri Paiboun, a Paris-trained doctor remains. And so this 72-year-old physician is appointed state coroner, despite having no training, equipment, experience or…

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3 authors picked The Coroner's Lunch as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

And now for something completely different, set in the People's Republic of Laos in 1976.

Dr. Siri Paiboun, a former surgeon and socialist activist now old and disillusioned with the Communist Party, has become the country's only coroner. It's a job he hates, made worse by corrupt officials and a judge who tries to turn even blatant homicides into deaths from natural causes. And by the dead, who haunt his dreams. 

Aided only by his Thai nurse, Dtui, and his mentally-challenged morgue attendant, Geung, Siri must deal with the bodies of three men who weren't supposed to be found and…

Colin Cotterill wrote a series of whodunits set in the late 70s newly formed the People's Democratic Republic of Laos, featuring 72-year-old Dr. Siri Paiboun who is appointed coroner by the communist government and sets out to solve crimes that uncover unpleasant truths about the country’s communist utopia. In this first novel, Paiboun investigates the death of a politician’s wife that soon turns into a murder inquiry, but the real joy of this story lies in the challenges the intrepid septuagenarian investigator faces that emerge as a consequence of communist rule. Quirky, gentle, and full of insights of a country…

Surprise! A murder mystery, a whodunnit, and in this instance a wildly untraditional one about the delightful Dr. Siri. The first of a series about an old man who has to do a job he doesn’t want – coroner to Vientiane in Laos in the seventies – and discovers that he is inhabited by his very own and shaman. He gathers around him a cast of characters from his wife and peerless noodle maker, to Mr. Ding, his assistant in the morgue. Each and all see the humor in every occasion and is a force for the good.

I love…

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