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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Londoner on 06-11-12
Worth a try
Came across this by accident, and enjoyed. Well read by GA, although the Viet voices sounded decidedly scottish. Laos is a place that I had not thought off, except as a footnote to the US / Vietnam situation, and I found the novel thought provoking in regard to the idealogical transfer of power to a communist state. I will try more by this author.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Danielle on 18-09-18
What’s with the narrator?
This is a great story... however, I’m making my third attempt to listen to the whole story, having aborted the last two attempts due to the awfulness of the narrator. He seems to think that he’s reading a Monty python sketch to a group of learning impaired four year olds. He gives the Laotian characters cockney accents. He can’t pronounce the Vietnamese names. He can’t even pronounce the name of the country that the novel is set in. He has obviously not even put in twenty minutes on Wikipedia to research the part of the world that the story is set in, and totally fails at every aspect of his job as narrator.
It is such a shame for such a great book to be ruined by such a piss poor performance.
By Mike on 08-11-13
Original, exotic but convincing crime story
A friend recommended "The Coroner's Lunch" as the start of a series I might be interested in. I'm glad she did, otherwise the idea of a 72 year old coroner in Laos in 1975, immediately after the communist revolution, would not have struck me as my sort of thing and I would have missed out on meeting Dr. Siri Paibo, one of the most interesting characters I've encountered in crime fiction.
Siri is a reluctant, and initially not very competent, coroner; appointed as a "reward" for services to his country but feeling as if he is somehow being punished instead.
He becomes the centre of political intrigues, murders, and hauntings, which he approaches with a unique mix of scientific method and irrational (but compelling) superstition,
Siri is a man who has lost most things except his (sometimes wildly inappropriate) sense of humour and his desire to find the truth. He is a brave man who does not believe himself a hero. He inspires strong emotions in others (they either want to kill him, marry him, worship him or learn from him) because he sees beyond the idea to the person and within the person to their spirit.
Parts of the book are gruesome, in a non-exploitive way, and parts, like his conversation with some recently orphaned children are truly moving without being maudlin or melodramatic. What holds it together is Siri sense of honour and common humanity.
Of course, there are also some good puzzles. at least three of them in fact, that kept me wanting to know what was going to happen next but mostly I wanted to know more about Dr. Siri.
The denouement of one of the plots is explained in a slightly clumsy way by a conversation between two characters who have previously only appeared in conversation with Siri but that is a small fault.
Most of the time Gareth Armstrong did a superb job of creating Siri and the characters around him but there were occasional stumbles over stress and even meaning which the producer should have caught and fixed.
I'm looking forward to the rest of the series. "Bad Teeth" is already on my iPod.