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The Merry Misogynist


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About the Author

Colin Cotterill was born in London. He has taught in Australia, the USA and Japan and lived for many years in Laos where he worked for nongovernmental social service organizations. He now writes full-time and lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand.


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 Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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 2009 Reed Business Information.

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