The Merry Misogynist (Dr. Siri Paiboun Series #6)

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Overview

When the corpse of a rural beauty turns up in Dr. Siri's morgue, his curiosity is piqued. The victim was tied to a tree and strangled, but she had not, as the doctor had expected, been raped. On a trip to the hinterlands, Siri learns that many women have been killed in this way, and he soon discovers that not only pretty maidens are at risk. Seventy-three-year-old coroners can be victims too.

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The Merry Misogynist (Dr. Siri Paiboun Series #6)

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Overview

When the corpse of a rural beauty turns up in Dr. Siri's morgue, his curiosity is piqued. The victim was tied to a tree and strangled, but she had not, as the doctor had expected, been raped. On a trip to the hinterlands, Siri learns that many women have been killed in this way, and he soon discovers that not only pretty maidens are at risk. Seventy-three-year-old coroners can be victims too.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for the Dr. Siri series:

“Terrifically beguiling detective novels steeped in local color and history.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Like Dr. Siri, Colin Cotterill has a touch of magic about him.”—The Boston Globe

“A delightfully fresh and eccentric hero.”—John Burdett

“Unpredictable. . . . Tragically funny and magically sublime.”—Entertainment Weekly

“A crack storyteller and an impressive guide to a little-known culture.”—The Washington Post Book World

Publishers Weekly

Setting and character more than compensate for a routine plot in Cotterill's sixth procedural to feature Laos's irreverent 73-year-old national coroner, Dr. Siri Paiboun (after 2008's Curse of the Pogo Stick). In March 1978, Siri gets into trouble after the authorities discover he's been living above his wife's noodle shop rather than in the housing assigned him by the inept and corrupt socialist government. Luckily, he's soon called to examine the body of an attractive young woman, who was found strangled, sexually abused and tied to a tree outside the capital of Vientiane. The country's backward communication methods, which even affect law enforcement, make identifying other similar crimes difficult, but Siri's doggedness eventually uncovers other such cases. While some may find the light tone the author takes in presenting the brutal crimes off-putting, the glimpses of everyday life in Laos will appeal to those readers curious about a culture unfamiliar to most Americans. (Aug.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School—In this sixth volume in the series, the protagonist is as delightfully eccentric and unpredictably clever as ever. The national coroner of Laos, 73-year-old Dr. Siri Paiboun, may dream of a carefree retirement, but he knows he will enjoy neither peace nor quiet anytime soon. While hounded and threatened by overly zealous bureaucratic bean counters, Dr. Siri is presented with the corpse of a beautiful young woman from the remote hill country. The examination of the body reveals several unaccountable details and one clear conclusion: she was brutally murdered. Further investigation points to a serial killer targeting women in remote villages. Readers learn in detail the means by which the murderer sets up his prey, but not the identity of the killer until Dr. Siri assembles all the pieces of the puzzle. Cotterill provides a detailed look at the life, customs, and political realities of a place and time unfamiliar to most Americans: Laos in the 1970s. And again he does this with his trademark combination of crisp plotting, witty dialogue, political satire, and otherworldly phenomena (although not as much in evidence here as in previous books). The Merry Misogynist is a suspenseful, informative read.—Robert Saunderson, formerly at Berkeley Public Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews
A curmudgeonly coroner matches wits with a serial killer. Elderly Dr. Siri Paiboun (Curse of the Pogo Stick, 2008, etc.) continues to thumb his nose at the officious communist government in Laos. When an agent from the Department of Housing Allocation named Koomki attempts to take him in for a scheduled hearing, Siri snatches the summons out of his hand and brazenly burns it. A few years into the new regime, experience and his advanced age have made Siri blithely sarcastic and pointedly heedless of authority. He's instilled confidence in his sidekicks, Nurse Dtui and lab assistant Geung Watajak, and given them increased responsibilities; increasingly they behave like him. This is not to say that they're professionally neglectful: The autopsy of a young woman who has been sexually brutalized before her murder prompts tears in Dtui and anger in Siri. Eerie, italicized chunks of narrative put the reader into the head of Phan, a killer several steps ahead of Siri. As he stalks his next victim, a flirtatious young schoolteacher named Wei, Siri and his office amass evidence that a serial killer is on the loose. Predictably, Koomki returns with reinforcements, ensnaring Siri in the Laotian bureaucracy, which for all its absurdity presents a genuine danger to him and his freedom. The plot is more conventional than in previous Dr. Siri mysteries, but Cotterill unfolds it expertly. Siri's morgue is as entertaining as a comedy club.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781569476543
  • Publisher: Soho Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/1/2010
  • Series: Dr. Siri Paiboun Series , #6
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 334,360
  • Product dimensions: 5.08 (w) x 7.58 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Five Dead Wives 1

2 Bo Ben Nyang 25

3 The Oversized Monday 49

4 Hindipendence 61

5 Doomed 71

6 In the Belly of the Brainless One 95

7 An Invisible Rice Farmer 113

8 Palace of the One-Hundred and Eleven Eyes 127

9 The Lao Patriotic Women's Association 137

10 Dancing with Death 151

11 Broken Water 157

12 In a Stupa 165

13 A Honeymoon in Hell 179

14 Coming to One's Census 199

15 A Lack of Police Intelligence 213

16 Swimming Through Rocks 223

17 There Goes the Bride 241

18 The Buddha Amusement Park 259

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Spiritual, funny and suspenseful

    Dr. Siri Paiboun, now in his mid-70s in 1978, the third year of the communist Pathet Lao government, is still Laos' chief and only state coroner in this 6th appearance. Though his desire for retirement remains unfulfilled, he has at long last found wedded bliss.

    Noodle seller Madame Daeng, 66, is a partisan comrade from the old days. Both are now a bit disillusioned, with the country suffering shortages of everything except bombast and repression. Madame Daeng enthusiastically joins Siri in his wish for a tranquil life and his unwillingness to suffer officious, puffed-up government bureaucrats, like the housing official standing on Madame Daeng's doorstep trying to catch Siri in the act of living there.

    Various people in need (from previous adventures) occupy Siri's assigned abode, and the housing man is eager to advance himself by recouping the house for the state and throwing its inhabitants out on the street. Siri, with a spirited mix of cunning and good-natured defiance, born of his years of experience, stays several steps ahead of the housing campaign while investigating a particularly gruesome murder and hunting for Crazy Rajid, a recurring character who is homeless, virtually silent, unpredictable and missing.

    This three-pronged plot engages Siri's professional, private and spiritual sides. As a reincarnated shaman, spirits visit or torment him from time to time and he sees dead people - and animals - their messages frustratingly cryptic.

    But the mysteries of the girl in his morgue are chillingly of this world - strangled, violated, tied naked to a tree. The strangulation alone is disturbing as many Lao believe that "if a person was holding a body when the life drained from it, that person was likely to provide a conduit for the spirit of the corpse and be haunted for all eternity." And then Siri discovers this girl was not the first victim - and will not be the last.

    Urgency disrupts Siri's normal routines. The lives of Rajid and some yet unknown innocent girl depend upon his swift progress, as does the well being of his houseguests, while the paranoia and red-tape of bureaucracy throw roadblocks in his path. But to Siri those very hindrances can be an investigative aid as well.

    Cotterill weaves in the killer's point of view, as is common in thrillers, but doesn't really seem necessary here. Still, it doesn't harm the story and does give us a creepy picture of a tormented, misogynist killer.

    Fans will find themselves at home with the usual fine cast; newcomers will not feel like strangers for long. Witty, beguiling, spiritual, very funny, and suspenseful, this series continues to occupy a class all its own.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2013

    Excellent!

    I have read all of the Siri Paiboun novels, now on my 7th! I highly recommend this book, if you like clever writing, colorful characters, thrills, twists, and supernatural influences. A great read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 30, 2012

    Fascinating, entertaining series!

    Can't remember how I discovered Colin Cotterill's Dr. Siri Paiboun series set in 1970's communist Laos, but I absolutely have LOVED it! One wouldn't think that books set in this somewhat depressing time for that country would be entertaining but they are wonderfully enlightening and also amusing. I am enamored of Dr. Paiboun and his assistants, and read every new title in the series wishing them well. I have to admit that I read the early books from my public library, but have ordered every single one from Barnes and Noble to go back and reread. Colin Cotterill's new series about Jimm Juree, set in modern day Thailand, is also laugh-out-loud amusing - but at the same time very moving. "Killed at the whim of a hat," the title of book number one is taken from a George W. Bush speech - nuff said. Wonderful author, wonderful books!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    I was looking for a new author to read and lucked upon Collin Cotterill

    This was the first of the Dr. Siri books I read. He is a witty, charming character. In addition to a great story, there is information about the country of Lao and some cultural information as well. I read one book and am now voraciously reading through the series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2014

    Excelent read

    Dr. Siiri and friends continue to delight.

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