Dr. Siri Paiboun series
Dr. Siri Paiboun, a French-trained physician, is the national coroner of Laos. The award-winning book of a series, nine in total, is set in the mid-1970s are mystery detective novels in the spirit of Poirot and a perfect balance between the modern mysteries of forensic science and the ancient secrets of the spirit world beliefs of the lao peoples.
The author, Colin Cotterill, is a stand-up chap. Fifteen years ago, Cotterill 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 more years of study in child abuse issues, and one more stint in Phuket, he moved on to ECPAT, an international organization combating child prostitution and pornography. He established their training program for caregivers. He has also setup, Books for Laos to help provide reading materials for children of Laos.
Indochina Travel comments: There is a scarcity of any good books on Laos. Although not a fan of detective novels, Cotterill's books are not typical of the genre, bringing the landscapes, people, superstitions, and mood of Laos to life. Some stories, for example, had me recalling Night Stalker. Descriptions like this had me hooked from the first book I picked up (Thirty-Three Teeth): "Through the scratched window he could see the sun reflecting golden from half a dozen temple stupas, two rivers converging around the town, and a white shrine, like a delicious merangue, sitting on top of a hill overlooking the old royal palace." ~Patrick Morris