Disco for the Departed (Dr. Siri Paiboun Series #3)

Disco for the Departed (Dr. Siri Paiboun Series #3)

by Colin Cotterill
4.5 33

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Disco for the Departed 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In 1977 in the People's Democratic Republic of Laos, seventy-three years old National Coroner Dr. Siri Paiboun accompanied by Nurse Dtui leave Vientiane on an educational trek in the isolated mountainous region. However, upon arrival at Vieng Xai, Siri and Dtui are escorted to a cave where the current Communist President of the country resided before a coup brought him into power. Inside is an arm sticking out of a cement block. At Kilometer 8 Hospital, a Castro loaner Cuban Dr. Santiago meets Siri and Dtui in between explaining what he knows about the victim, the Cuban and the nurse with the Coroner as the depressed referee battle in a contest of wits and words for whom is the Communist champion killjoy. As the trio uncovers clues, the case takes strange spins with sacrificial rituals covered by official red tape making it difficult to follow leads that Siri obtains with his eerie talent of discussing the investigation with the dead to the backdrop of even weirder western disco music. --- The third Paiboun coroner¿s investigation is a superb look at late 1970s Laos where ancient Buddhist rituals and bureaucratic Communist rituals sit side by side. The story line is action-packed, but the cast make the historical whodunit a treat. Besides the terrific lead trio, the support characters add depth to the feel that the audience is in deed in a remote part of Laos just after the Viet Nam War ended. Fans who appreciate something different in their police procedurals will want to read the intelligent DISCO FOR THE DEPARTED and its two previous tales (see THE CORONER¿S LUNCH and THIRTY-THREE TEETH). --- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great Mystery
Andrew_of_Dunedin More than 1 year ago
“Disco for the Departed” is author Colin Cotterill’s 3rd visit to Dr. Siri Paiboun. At this point in his long life, Dr. Siri thought he’d be enjoying a light workload or even retirement, instead of struggling to support the post-Vietnam war People’s Democrating Republic of Laos’ government by providing coroner services. Further complicating his “golden years” is that the ghosts of the dead can occasionally communicate with Dr. Siri – and sometimes they seem insistent while other times they seem vague. There are two plots running through this book. First, preparations for a governmental celebration in the mountains near the border are interrupted by the discovery of an arm – without any body connected – in concrete at the former presidential palace. Dr. Paiboun must not only solve the mystery of who this person was and why he or she died, but also walk a tightrope of political considerations. Meanwhile, many of the aforementioned spirits congregate nightly in an event which gives the book its title. In a concurrent plot, Geung, the developmentally challenged morgue assistant, has been placed in charge of keeping the place tidy while the good doctor is away. Unfortunately, he is visited and informed that he has been drafted into the military and must leave immediately. Geung declines because he made a commitment to the absent Dr. Siri, but he is not given a choice – until he is able to escape his captors and begins a long adventuresome trek back to the morgue. Cotterill’s sardonic view of governments, governmental regulations and red tape, and the functionaries and leaders who inhabit this world, oozes through each paragraph of the book. This cynicism might overpower the work if it weren’t for the basic goodness and common sense of Siri, Geung, and previously unmentioned Nurse Dtui. The reader is blessed with the ability to rise above any situation and laugh along with the protagonists, rather than having to dwell in the procedural mire of the new Communist regime. It is always a joy to hang out with Siri. RATING: 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 stars where applicable.
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