Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.


No title (2004)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,167966,945 (3.84)461

Work details

The Coroner's Lunch by Colin Cotterill (2004)

  1. 72
    The No. 1 Ladiesʼ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (heidialice)
  2. 00
    Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates by Tom Robbins (Littlemissbashful)
    Littlemissbashful: Eccentric characters, mystical goings on, wily old folk and wry humour with intriguing plot points.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 461 mentions

English (92)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  French (1)  All languages (96)
Showing 1-5 of 92 (next | show all)
I really enjoyed this. It was a very quick and easy read, and despite the body count fairly light hearted. I look forward to reading more of Colin Cotterill's books. ( )
  KarenDuff | Jun 1, 2016 |
Review: The Coroner’s Lunch by Colin Cotterill.

I have read my first book by Colin Cotterill and now looking forward to reading more of his books. It was written in a clear prose with a mixture of comedy hidden within the dialogue. The nature of the story kept me curious, sometimes sadden but uplifting.

The story was set in Laos in 1976 a year after the Pathet Lao seized power following the long guerilla war against the monarchy. The person of interest is Dr, Siri Palboun, a crime solving national coroner of Laos. Siri was also an active Communist resistance at one time but the elders still appointed him state coroner despite his lack of training in taking bodies apart, and he was forced to learn on the job. I found him to be sort of obsessed by a spirit of an ancient Sharman, in a humorous way.

The reader gets to meet Siri’s friend Civalal, morgue assistants Geung and Dtui, and his police partner Phosy and his boss Kaeng, and his spirit co-inhabitant Yeh Ming. They are all great characters. Every character was created cleverly with small personal weaknesses which slowly revealed their true colors as the story progressed. I was intrigued how Cotterill came across with the solutions to the mysteries of the crimes.
( )
  Juan-banjo | May 31, 2016 |
This was a fun read, to squeeze in on the weekend between the regular chores and Christmas planning activities. This is the first of a mystery series, set in 1970s Laos, starring an elderly wanna-be-retired-surgeon who is coerced into becoming the only coroner after the revolution. Siri might be extremely reluctant, but he is still a conscientious and honest professional, who does his job too well. This of course, is going to get him into trouble, as he clashes with the bureacrats and the bad guys. He is quite likeable and funny. When his obnoxious boss-judge orders him to start wearing proper shoes instead of sandals, because "Civilized people wear shoes. Our comrades expect it of us.", Siri replies, "...I think if the proletariat are going to kiss my feet, the least I can do is give them a few toes to wrap their lips around."
A bit of a paranormal element was slipped in, which was a bit too much -- I think it could have been left in the arena of dreams/intuition/gut feeling/ rather than being elevated to the significance it was given in the later parts of the book. But overall, it was a fun little jaunt with some snappy funny dialogue, a bit of a mystery, and some likeable characters. ( )
  TheBookJunky | Apr 22, 2016 |
It's 1975 and 72 year old Dr. Siri finds himself assigned as the new coroner under the new communist regime instead of the retirement he expected to enjoy. No matter that he has had no training in the field - he teaches himself as much as he can and is assisted by a bright young nurse who aspires to gain coroner's skills and an engaging man with Down's Syndrome. Dr. Siri is a kind, honest man who finds himself in danger when he begins to ask questions about some of his "guests". To top it off, Dr. Siri is unique in that occasionally, the dead visit him in his dreams. It sounds absurd but it works and it works brilliantly. ( )
  Oodles | Feb 16, 2016 |
This is the first book and the reader's introduction to the Dr. Siri series. Set in Laos 1976, Siri Paiboun is a 72-year old doctor and veteran of the uprising that put the Communists in power that year. Heading toward retirement, Siri is pressed into service as the country's chief coroner, filling a gap left as many of the more educated Lao populace fled to Thailand following the revolution.

There are two main mysteries in this book. The first involves the wife of a high-ranking government official who dies under mysterious circumstances. Dr. Siri isn't sure how she was killed but becomes determined to discover her cause of death. The second plot involves the discovery of three Vietnamese corpses in a reservoir, apparently subjected to torture and then drowned. This case has serious implications due to the tense relationship between Laos and also newly liberated Vietnam. Dr. Siri joins forces with a Vietnamese coroner to try and untangle the mess.

Intelligently plotted and laced with whimsical humor, the author tells a mystery that combines political intrigue, social commentary, and Lao folklore and culture. This is a wonderful book and the characters are very compelling. We meet Siri's morgue assistants Geung and Dtui, his friend and politburo member Civalai, his police partner Phosy, and his inexperienced bureaucratic boss Kaeng. If you are of an “age” to remember the political struggles of the early 1970s you will enjoy this even more. I'm always on the lookout for a great mystery series and this more than fits my criteria. Can't wait to get the next one and see what happens to my “latest” favorite characters.
( )
  Olivermagnus | Jan 17, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 92 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Colin Cotterillprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Abelsen, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Amezawa, YasushiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Diari, MatteoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malfoy, ValérieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mohr, ThomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
With the kindest thanks and lots of love
to the following folks:

Pornsawan, Bouasawan, Chantavone, Sounieng, Ketkaew, Dr Pongruk, Bounlan, Don, Souk, Soun, Michael and his secretary, Somdee, David L., Nok, Dtee, Siri, Yayoi and Steph.
First words
Tran, Tran, and Hok broke through the heavy end-of-wet-season clouds.
Most of the results from Siri’s morgue relied on archaic color tests: combinations of chemicals or litmus samples. These were more suitable for telling what wasn’t, rather than what was.
We, my children, are no longer common coroners. We are investigators of death.
He couldn’t imagine why old men would chase new-hatched chicks when there were pretty hens in the yard.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

The Communist Pathet Lao has taken over this former French colony. Most of the educated class has fled, but Dr. Siri Paiboun, a Paris-trained doctor whose late wife had been an ardent Communist, remains. And so this 72-year-old physician is appointed state coroner, despite the fact that he has no training or even supplies to use in performing his new task. What he does have is curiosity and integrity. At his age he is not about to let a bunch of ignorant bureaucrats dictate to him. One of his first cases involves three bodies recovered from a reservoir, but Dr. Siri establishes that the cause of death was not drowning. These men seem to have been electrocuted, perhaps tortured, and they also seem to be Vietnamese, which could have international repercussions. And then there is the inexplicable death of a Party bigwig's equally important wife. She collapsed and died at a banquet. But Dr. Siri doesn't think her death was from natural causes. In the course of his investigations, Dr. Siri must travel to his birthplace, a Hmong village he has not visited for more than 60 years, where he makes a profound discovery, not only about the motive for several murders, but about himself.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
6 avail.
50 wanted
5 pay10 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.84)
1 5
2 12
2.5 9
3 85
3.5 54
4 185
4.5 27
5 79


3 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 106,717,651 books! | Top bar: Always visible