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The Merry Misogynist: A Dr. Siri Investigation Set in Laos (Dr. Siri Paiboun) Hardcover – August 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Series: Dr. Siri Paiboun
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Crime (August 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569475563
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569475560
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #987,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From 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.

From 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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
5 star
73%
4 star
17%
3 star
10%
2 star
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See all 59 customer reviews
I live overseas so I really appreciate the cultural nuances.
sonya kosack
I can hardly wait for the next book in the series and expect them to arrive year after year for a long time to come.
Terry Weiss
The characters are very well developed and the mysteries are well thought out and fun to read.
meymoon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By S. McGee TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's 1978, and the war ended in Laos nearly three years ago, leaving the Communist Pathet Lao regime in charge. Siri Paiboun, the very cynical party member and former partisan, unwillingly drafted to be the country's chief (actually, its only) coroner in his 70s, and his new wife, the 66-year-old Madame Daeng (noodle chef par excellence and former freedom fighter) are starting to believe that they may carve out a happy and harmonious life for whatever years are left to them. Married for two months, the smile hasn't left Siri's lips since.

But the honeymoon is about to be disrupted; Dr. Siri isn't the only happy man in town, and that's bad news. For starters, there are the bureaucrats from the Housing Department, who have discovered to their glee that Siri has let an oddball assortment of people live in his house while he seems to have abandoned his allocated house to live with Mme. Daeng. If they succeed in taking his house away, Siri frets, a former royal puppeteer, a renegade Thai Buddhist monk, some former prostitutes and a couple of Hmong infants that Siri is caring for, will all be left homeless. More serious a threat to Siri's contentment -- and to his longevity -- is another very happy man. He's "Phan", a young man who arrives in remote towns, marries beautiful young women and takes them off on honeymoon -- then kills them. When a young woman arrives to be autopsied on Dr. Siri's table, and he's perturbed to discover that she has been strangled; few Lao would ever strangle another human being, believing that the dead person's spirit would flow through their hands into them and haunt them "for eternity". So Dr. Siri already knows he has a very evil murderer on the loose -- and then he discovers that this isn't the first such crime...
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on August 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The Merry Misogynist is the latest entry in the Dr. Siri Paiboun series, set in Laos in 1978. As readers of the series know, Siri is an elderly doctor who gets the unwanted assignment as national coroner in the, then, new socialist government.

After years of civil war, Dr. Siri had hoped for a peaceful old age, but instead he finds himself beset with mysteries. He recalls his old training in Paris, years before, and the wonderful French mystery films he enjoyed. Yes, he is now himself an inspector Maigret! Woven through these books is a poignant look at Laos, along with Dr. Siri's late life discovery that he is also linked to a Hmong shaman from a thousand years previously. Somehow, all this works in the hands of this capable author, and the books work. How I discovered them was through an ardent fan who recommended them to me. People who read them, tend to get very loyal. I actually know someone who is visiting Laos just to see where the stories take place!

In this particular volume, Dr. Siri is presented with a dreadful case. A very beautiful young woman turns up as a case at the morgue, and he sets out to find out who would do such an awful, unusual crime. Serial killers appear to be almost unheard of at that time and place. The book goes back and forth between Dr. Siri and the mind of the killer (the merry misogynist himself).

If you have read the other books, look for the subplot, too, about the young Rajid going missing, and Dr. Siri's attempt to find him. I love that character, a young homeless, foreign man, who seems to be damaged in some way. I love the way everyone just feeds him and takes care of him in his street life. The people appear very compassionate.

I recommend this marvelous book without hesitation. Read the whole series and enjoy! And check out the author's website re books for Laos!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Harnett VINE VOICE on August 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
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.
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More About the Author

Colin Cotterill was born in London in 1952. He taught and trained teachers around the world before settling in Thailand where he wrote and produced a forty-program language teaching series, English by Accident, for Thai national television. He spent sever

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