Love Songs from a Shallow Grave

Love Songs from a Shallow Grave

Colin Cotterill / Sep 23, 2019

Love Songs from a Shallow Grave Praise for the Dr Siri series The consistently fine characterizations of the entire cast are matched by a tightly constructed plot Booklist Glimpses of everyday life in Laos will appeal to those reade

  • Title: Love Songs from a Shallow Grave
  • Author: Colin Cotterill
  • ISBN: 9781569476277
  • Page: 401
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Praise for the Dr Siri series The consistently fine characterizations of the entire cast are matched by a tightly constructed plot Booklist Glimpses of everyday life in Laos will appeal to those readers curious about a culture unfamiliar to most Americans Publishers Weekly Three young Laotian women have died of fencing sword wounds Each of them had studied abrPraise for the Dr Siri series The consistently fine characterizations of the entire cast are matched by a tightly constructed plot Booklist Glimpses of everyday life in Laos will appeal to those readers curious about a culture unfamiliar to most Americans Publishers Weekly Three young Laotian women have died of fencing sword wounds Each of them had studied abroad in an Eastern bloc country Before he can complete his investigation, Dr Siri is lured to Cambodia by an all expenses paid trip Accused of spying for the Vietnamese, he is imprisoned, beaten, and threatened with death The Khmer Rouge is relentless, and it is touch and go for the dauntless, seventy four year old national and only coroner of Laos Colin Cotterill was born in London in 1952 and taught and trained teachers around the world before settling in Thailand He spent several years in Laos, initially with UNESCO, before he moved on to become involved in child protection in the region and set up a non governmental organization in Phuket He later moved on to ECPAT, an international organization combating child prostitution and pornography Colin writes and illustrates full time, and lives in Chumphon on the Gulf of Thailand with his wife, Jessi, and a bunch of dogs He is a Dilys Award winner.

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    About "Colin Cotterill"

      • Colin Cotterill

        Colin Cotterill was born in London and trained as a teacher and set off on a world tour that didn t ever come to an end He worked as a Physical Education instructor in Israel, a primary school teacher in Australia, a counselor for educationally handicapped adults in the US, and a university lecturer in Japan But the greater part of his latter years has been spent in Southeast Asia Colin has taught and trained teachers in Thailand and on the Burmese border He spent several years in Laos, initially with UNESCO and wrote and produced a forty programme language teaching series English By Accident, for Thai national television.Ten years ago, Colin became involved in child protection in the region and set up an NGO in Phuket which he ran for the first two years After two years of study in child abuse issues, and one stint in Phuket, he moved on to ECPAT, an international organization combating child prostitution and pornography He established their training program for caregivers.All the while, Colin continued with his two other passions cartooning and writing He contributed regular columns for the Bangkok Post but had little time to write It wasn t until his work with trafficked children that he found himself sufficiently stimulated to put together his first novel, The Night Bastard Suk s Editions 2000.The reaction to that first attempt was so positive that Colin decided to take time off and write full time Since October 2001 he has written nine novels Two of these are child protection based Evil in the Land Without Asia Books December 03 , and Pool and Its Role in Asian Communism Asia Books, Dec 05 These were followed by The Coroner s Lunch Soho Press Dec 04 , Thirty Three Teeth Aug 05 , Disco for the Departed Aug 06 , Anarchy and Old Dogs Aug 07 , and Curse of the Pogo Stick Aug 08 , The Merry Misogynist Aug 09 , Love Songs from a Shallow Grave Aug 10 these last seven are set in Laos in the 1970 s.On June 15 2009 Colin Cotterill received the Crime Writers Association Dagger in the Library award for being the author of crime fiction whose work is currently giving the greatest enjoyment to library users.When the Lao books gained in popularity, Cotterill set up a project to send books to Lao children and sponsor trainee teachers The Books for Laos programme elicits support from fans of the books and is administered purely on a voluntary basis.Since 1990, Colin has been a regular cartoonist for national publications A Thai language translation of his cartoon scrapbook, Ethel and Joan Go to Phuket Matichon May 04 and weekly social cartoons in the Nation newspaper, set him back onto the cartoon trail in 2004 On 4 April 2004, an illustrated bilingual column cycle logical was launched in Matichon s popular weekly news magazine These have been published in book form.Colin is married and lives in a fishing community on the Gulf of Siam with his wife, Jessi, and ever expanding pack of very annoying dogs.


    1. I wish I had something intelligent to add to the series of cracking good reviews already written on this book. After Meeting Peit Van Der Valk (Nicolas Freeling) of the Netherlands and Detective Wallander (Henning Mankell) of the Swedish police, I thought I had already met the men of my dreams. However, I have now begun an unblushing love affair with the Laotian Dr. Siri Paiboun. Like the angst-ridden Wallander, and the wise-cracking Piet Van der Valk, Dr. Siri spends much of his time maneuverin [...]

    2. Love Songs From a Shallow Grave was confusing and tortured, and it led me on a ride that was spine-tingling and heart wrenching. I loved this book, but there were so many times I wanted to cry. Sometimes this book felt almost too real. The atrocities that occurred during the seventies in Cambodia and Vietnam were horrific, and this tale gave a sense of reality to what happened there. I was in middle school during that time, and I remembered one of my friends losing her brother. As I read this st [...]

    3. This is the first title I've read in the Dr. Siri Paibourn mystery series, and it is an impressive outing. If you don't know much about Laos and the Khmer Rouge in neighboring Cambodia, Long Songs will give you a true but grim history lesson. Dr. Siri is the only coroner working in 1978 Laos when he takes on a serial killer who's done in three young ladies using fencing swords. Meanwhile he's also dispatched to Cambodia on a diplomatic mission where he runs into trouble. The wry sense of humor t [...]

    4. I am a big fan of Colin Cotterill's Dr. Siri Paiboun series. Dr. Siri is really one of the most charming characters in all of the mystery genre and I always enjoy reading about his adventures and absorbing his gentle wisdom and view of the world. That being said, I was disappointed in this particular book. In trying to analyze just why, I came to the conclusion that it was because it tried to do too much.These stories take place in 1970s Laos, just after their revolution, as the new socialist go [...]

    5. tes and fav bits(4)"Heroes don't just 'pass" like flatulence in a strong breeze."(5)The Department of Hero Creation, the DHC, was housed in a small annex of the propaganda section of the Ministry of Information. Based loosely on a Vietnamese initiative already in place, the DHC was responsible for identifying role models, exaggerating their revolutionary qualities, and creating a fairy story around their lives. A week earlier, Dr. Siri and Comrade Civilai had received their invitations to attend [...]

    6. Loved the series several years ago and recently rediscovered on Audible. Great stories and performance. The characters, story, and cultural details about Laos are endlessly entertaining. In Love Songs from a Shallow Grave, focus on some of the darker history from the era of the Vietnam War, the Khmer Rouge and the Pathet Lao overwhelms what one reviewer described as "magical mysteries." If you love the series for the historical background, you may be fine with it. For me, it detracts from the de [...]

    7. #7 Dr. Siri Paiboun mystery set in 1970's Laos. Dr. Siri, the national coroner, has a serial killer on his hands--a killer who has brutally murdered three young women with a fencing epee, something that's not exactly lying around on every corner in Laos. Most people don't even have a clue what it is. So tracking this killer should be simple, right? Tell that to Siri's policeman friend Phosy, who thinks he has it all figured out until he reads a note with some very pointed questions from Siri--wh [...]

    8. This is another amazing entry in the Dr. Siri series, this book didn't have as much to do with the spirits and their interactions with the good Dr. Siri as the previous books did, but it was by the far the scariest in the series so far!The was a very good murder mystery going on throughout the book involving 3 women, fencing and the mark of Z for Zorro, and of course there were the ongoing problems and joys of the people who surround Dr. Siri and who are important to him.But for me the most frig [...]

    9. This, the seventh of the Dr. Siri series, is the first I have read. I was told that it is comparable to the "No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" series. It isn't. The plot is much thicker, and though the author does bring out the ambience of Laos in 1970s with humour very effectively, the book is a little more serious. The book has two parallel narratives, one of serial murders in Laos, and another of a prisoner in a Khmer Rouge torture camp in Cambodia. The counterbalance of the horrors of Khmer Rou [...]

    10. #7 in the Dr. Siri Paiboon mystery series, set in Laos in 1978. Although this novel has the trademark satire, along with the regular cast of characters, Siri's encounters with spirits, and unusual murder(s), it is less successful because of the addition of a major subplot, which has no connection with the main plot. This is the condition of the Cambodian people at the time - the Khmer Rouge was in power in Cambodia and committed unbelievable atrocities (i.e. the killing fields). I felt that the [...]

    11. I worked with Cambodian refugees in Atlanta in the 80's and found myself grateful for Cotterill's decision to take Siri into the spiritual and social devastation of Pol Pot's revolution. The Cambodian segment, unfortunately, is not well-woven into the mystery in Laos -- feels like parallel, disconnected stories. But both stories are so well written, yet again, that you cut Cotterill slack. Even with the subject matter, I still laughed out loud at several descriptions -- people in harsh situation [...]

    12. The seventh in the series and among the best. I found in the past books that some of the sweetness could be cloying and here the humour and affection the characters have for eachother is set off perfectly with the incredibly dark scenes set in Cambodia. A good murder twist at the end is a bit of an afterthought, but overall high quality light entertainment and if you enjoyed the other books in the series you will not want to miss this one.

    13. This is the third book I have read in this series about the adventures of an elderly coroner in Laos in the late 1970s. Although there is some humour this book is quite dark. There is the mystery of the three women killed with fencing swords but there is also the background story of the Khmer Rouge in Kampuchea. I was hoping for a fairly light hearted read but I found this book depressing. It's well written but not what I wanted.

    14. The Dr. Siri Investigations set in Laos continue to be on of my favorite series. Dr. Siri is 74 and is the national coroner the only coroner in Laos in 1975. Wryly entertaining. Eccentric. Hard-boiled. Laugh out loud and tragically funny. Depressing. I don't believe there is another mystery series like it. Start with the first one and work your way through. You never know what you are going to find like this title for a chapter: My Mama Sold the Buffalo and Bought a Rocket Launcher.

    15. Enjoyable and easy read. I wonder what a reader would think starting with this volume without having read the others. I suspect the reader would pay more attention and maybe enjoy it a bit more. I resolve to read the next book better without falling back on the comfort of old acquaintance.

    16. Cotterill is a genius, what can I say? His unlikely hero is perfect, the setting in an alternate universe that is 1970s Laos, although this one has a dark venture into the horror that was Cambodia. Spooky and funny, a great read.

    17. I just couldn't get into the frequent "dream" sequences. Especially as Siri was in hell! I wanted to spend more time with the main characters, who didn't seem to develop this time out. I'm afraid this series may have run its course.

    18. Another great instalment in the tales of Dr Siri Paiboun, 72-year-old coroner to the People's Democratic Republic of Laos as he and his colleagues work to solve a series of unusual murders. Great read - 9/10.

    19. I've read all of the Dr. Siri books and this is the first one that was really depressing.All of them deal with the Lao conditions in the 1970's but this one bothered me alot because of the terrible things that went on in Cambodia that it deals with.

    20. I can remember writing in my review of previous books in this series how I have a warm feeling inside when I finish one of the stories. Certainly the same can be said for this one but here the road to the end of the book is through very different terrain.Those who have read the earlier books are used to reading about Laos and the conditions in which Dr Siri and his friends find themselves. We admire and marvel at how anyone could keep their sense of humour in such conditions. Is it an ability to [...]

    21. This is one of the best books in the series so far. Dr. Siri Paiboun, coroner for Laos, is assisting with the murder investigation of three young women who were killed with fencing swords in unrelated locations. Each of the women had studied in Europe, but didn't seem to know each other. Before Siri could get much more information about the women, he was sent with his friend, Civilai ,to Cambodia on a diplomatic mission. This was 1977 and the Khmer Rouge were still in power. Dr. Siri comes acros [...]

    22. "There's always somebody worse off than you. Unless you're Cambodian". - Dr Siri.#7 in the Dr Siri series is the most challenging, thought-provoking, and difficult read so far. Sprinkled throughout the story are flash-forward scenes, in first person narrative, of Dr Siri in the notorious Cambodian death prison, S21. This is difficult reading. If you're at all familiar with the brutality of the Khmer Rouge, you'll understand why. If you're not, then you'll think that you're reading a work of fict [...]

    23. Once again, there are convoluted converging plots here. The investigation into a series of homicides committed daily x 3 with a weapon incongruous to Indochina is further complicated by the varied communists from Russia, China, and Vietnam. The other part is a cautionary tale in the guise of Dr Siri's experiences in Cambodia during the bloodbath that was the Khymer Rouge. If you are too young to remember and are lucky enough not to have lost anyone during this horror, I do assure you that it was [...]

    24. I wish I could give this book 6 stars! I keep saying this, but each book in this series only gets better, and they started out great. We get more history, more look at what humans have chosen to do to each other, and a really good mystery to boot in this provocative and engaging book. It involves multiple murders by epee in countries without order or law. You also get a good idea of what happened in this part of the world in the mid to late '70's and how areas very physically close to each other [...]

    25. Honestly --- I read (listened to) this book in fits and starts so it didn't get my full reading attention. This was through no fault of the plot or author, simply the availability of time to listen it on my phone since that's where I loaded the audiobook.This book was more gruesome than earlier adventures, and featured less magical realism. But I'm ALWAYS rooting for Dr. Siri, and his unusual cast of Laoation characters. This book did not disappoint. On to the next installment, which I promise t [...]

    26. This was the first Dr. Siri mystery I've read, and while it took a few chapters for me to get into the story, I felt the book was relatively easy to get into without having read previous books in the series. I likely enjoyed this book more than I would have due to having just returned from Lao, and appreciated all of the references to places and life in Vientiane.An enjoyable read, but also a book with a haunting/dark side, especially in reference to Dr. Siri's encounter with the Killing Fields [...]

    27. Cotterill flip-flopped the narrative again in this book but instead of it being between Dr. Siri & the killer it was between Dr. Siri in Laos trying to figure out who had killed 3 women with fencing swords & Dr. Siri in Cambodia imprisoned by the Khmer Rouge while on a diplomatic trip. Another great addition to a wonderful series

    28. Number 7My first review ever. I just love these books. Reading them is like spending time with an old friend. Always a great story, always filled with interesting history. A pleasure to read!

    29. I think these are getting darker as they progress, some of this one takes place in Cambodia during the killing fields. But the characters are so good and the story so clever that I can't stop reading them.

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