Love Songs from a Shallow Grave (Dr. Siri Mysteries Book 7)


Colin Cotterill

When a Lao female security officer is discovered stabbed through the heart with a fencing sword, Dr. Siri, the reluctant national coroner for the People’s Democratic Republic of Laos, is brought in to examine the body. Soon two other young women are found killed in the same unusual way. Siri learns that all three victims studied in Europe and that one of them was being pursued by a mysterious stalker. But before he can solve the case, he is whisked away to Cambodia on a diplomatic mission. Though on the surface the Khmer Rouge seem to be committed to the socialist cause, Siri soon learns the horrifying truth of the killing fields and finds himself thrown into prison. Can the seventy-four-year-old doctor escape with his life?

Reviews:bookaddict on Amazon wrote:

Colin Cotterill certainly does not follow a formula in constructing his excellent mysteries featuring Laotian septuagenarian coroner Dr. Siri Paiboun. This installment has two main threads, one which is told in the first-person, present tense by Siri who is imprisoned in Cambodia, and the other the mystery of three similar homicides that started before Siri’s trip with his friend Civilai to Cambodia, which is told in the third person and involves Siri and his menagerie of interesting colleagues and companions. The two stories come together as Siri thinks of the mystery back in Laos to distract himself from torture and mistreatment in Cambodia and as Inspector Phosy ponders Siri’s advice/concerns and pursues the case in his absence. A theme tying the two streams together is the bureaucratic investigation in Laos of whether Siri warrants official hero status while in Laos he is demonstrating, at least to the reader, that he definitely is a hero. Colin Cotterill is a delight as a writer because of the originality of each book as well as his continuing development of excellent characters and his witty description of their interactions and somewhat nonsensical events. Nevertheless, this book is dark in its telling of the brutality of the Khmer Rouge--a lesson worth remembering.

M B Fay on Amazon wrote:

Not for the faint of heart

Of all the books in the Dr. Siri series, I think this one has been most on my mind. In the 1970's Pol Pot and his gang of marauders decimated the population of Cambodia and I was peripherally conscious of what was going on via the media. When reading this book, I was made painfully aware of the horrors of that genocide. This book hit me so intensely that I had to put it down every once in a while in order to digest the pain and get my head wrapped around what had happened. This book is not for the faint-hearted or the lovers of fairy tales in which everything is rosy in the end. Cotterill has done a stellar job of gripping this reader and not letting go. This is a do-not-miss read and I am still affected by it.
Colin Cotterill deserves many kudos for his amazing writing skills. So glad to have discovered this writer.

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