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Disco For the Departed
Dr. Siri Paiboun, Bk 3
Colin Cotterill

Soho Crime
2007 / ISBN 1569474648
Mystery / Contemporary /1977

Reviewed by L J Roberts


First Sentence: Dr. Siri lay beneath the grimy mesh of the mosquito net watching the lizard’s third attempt.

Dr. Siri and Dturi have been sent to a “guest house” at revolutionary headquarters in the mountains of Huaphan province to attend a seminar intended to provide them with an ‘enlightened” understanding of the Marxist-Leninist system. What they did not expect was for an arm to be discovered rising out of a concrete path. The arm was attached to the body of a man who’d been encased in the concrete while still alive. Siri also did not expect, at 73, to find himself dancing to disco music only he could hear, nor for the Russian to whom Siri and Dturi reported back in Vientiane to ship their mortuary assistant, Geung off to Xieng Ngeim without their knowing.

It is always a pleasure to be back with Dr. Siri and friends. They truly are some of my favorite characters and it was particularly nice to learn more of mortuary assistant Geung’s background. Cotterill worked in an interesting point through Siri’s friend, Dr. Santiago who believes in shamans and the spirit world, that some form of shamanism is common to most cultures of the world outside those of European origin. Points such as that remind us the world is one filled with diverse philosophies and beliefs beyond our own; one of the gifts of reading.

Cotterill’s writing is filled with wonderful dialogue and humor, yet he also makes me think. Rather than the supernatural element being for the sake of fantasy, Cotteriall uses it to serious purpose—to make a point such as the impact of war on its innocent victims; those who just happen to live in the wrong place. He also makes us aware that bigotry exists in every country.

The story is one of relationships and loyalty. The mystery is an intriguing blend of the mystical and the plain, old ferreting out information. The book is an absolutely wonderful read.

Reviewer's Note:
Reviewed 2011
© 2011