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Curse of the Pogo Stick (Dr. Siri Paiboun #5)

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  1,224 ratings  ·  149 reviews
In Vientiane, a booby-trapped corpse, intended for Dr. Siri, the national coroner of Laos, has been delivered to the morgue. In his absence, only Nurse Dtui's intervention saves the lives of the morgue attendants, visiting doctors, and Madame Daeng, Dr. Siri's fiance. On his way back from a communist party meeting in the north, Dr. Siri is kidnapped by seven female Hmong v ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published July 22nd 2008 by Soho Crime (first published July 1st 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,704)
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: In Vientiane, a booby-trapped corpse, intended for Dr. Siri, the national coroner of Laos, has been delivered to the morgue. In his absence, only Nurse Dtui’s intervention saves the lives of the morgue attendants, visiting doctors, and Madame Daeng, Dr. Siri’s fiancée.

On his way back from a communist party meeting in the north, Dr. Siri is kidnapped by seven female Hmong villagers under the direction of the village elder so that he will—in the guise of Yeh
...more
Carol. [All cynic, all the time]
Fifth book in the Siri adventures proves delightful. In this installment we are introduced to Hmong culture, opening with an interpretation of how the Hmong lost their history and written language. The first shaman gifts his people with the geng pipes, so they would be able to guide the dead to the Otherworld, giving them "a musical language that communicated directly from one soul to another." The piping transports us to the world of the morgue, where two auditors investigating Siri are complai ...more
Laurie
Something of the flavor of McCall Smith's Mma Ramotswe stories, but with substance. Set in Laos in the 70s, his aging coroner is a reluctant detective and more reluctant host for spirits.
Joanray04
I love this series, which starts with The Coroner's Lunch, Thirty-Three Teeth, Disco for the Departed, and then Anarchy and Old Dogs. Curse of the Pogo Stick is the fifth and I have the sixth waiting, The Merry Misogynist. The main character is Dr. Siri, a coroner in Laos in the late 1970s, who mixes science and the Buddhist religion well, and is helped along by a ghost and a little magic. He is in his 70s, has a wry sense of humor and great compassion for his country and the wonderful character ...more
Scilla
This is the fifth book of the Dr. Siri series. It is set in Laos in the late 1970's after the communists have taken over. Dr. Siri, now in his seventies, fought with the communists in the jungle. He is named national coroner in the new regime. His two assistants are Nurse Dtui, who would like to be a doctor and Mr. Geung, who has Down's syndrome. Although a longtime communist, Dr. Siri is not happy with the government, and does not always do as his boss wishes. He is the reincarnation of Yeh Min ...more
Karen
Anybody who hasn't indulged in the Dr Siri series by Colin Cotterill could be forgiven for wondering what on earth is going on with CURSE OF THE POGO STICK. Booby-trapped corpses and reluctant coroners might be reasonably expected in crime fiction, but Hmong villagers needing exorcism by a thousand-year-old shaman who shares the aforementioned coroner's body? Understandably a "What the" moment.

Whilst the spiritual (supernatural) component of CURSE OF THE POGO STICK is considerably stronger than
...more
Genine Franklin-Clark
The first book in this series was perfect, and each succeeding book is as well. I can't say they get better; how can perfection be improved upon? But the standard never falters or falls. Remarkable.

Laos, newly Communist, a charming 73 year okd coroner (by assignment, not training, because he was a doctor), mystery, romance, humor, wit, the supernatural . . . and in this book, a little of the plight of the Hmong, which led me to purchase a book which will help me learn a little about these much-a
...more
Caroline
The Hmong, whether they chose to side with the Japanese, the French of the Americans, are people who have never been fairly treated by the ruling parties at the end of each war in which their help was sought. In Laos, the plight of the nomadic Hmong is observed at first hand by Dr Siri when he is abducted during a road trip with Judge Haeng to Luang Prabang, by Elder Long to help free his young daughter from a demon. Dr Siri, whose earthly body hosts Yeh Ming, a powerful shaman, is well known am ...more
Heather Shaw
I don't think there's any single genre that submits more books for review than that of the mystery. Literally (hah) dozens of them pile into the office every week. What that means is that at night, I pile a few on my nightstand and begin to read. If I'm not happily carried away within the first few pages, the book goes on the floor for the next day's recycling.

The latest one to capture my attention is the fifth in a series by Colin Cotterill. This one takes place in Laos, and for all I know they
...more
Sarah
...and another half star. Feeling a bit browbeaten by the anti-communist stance. Take his point but feels like he is getting a bit lazy and over-playing it. Quite a short book this one, entertaining but not much meat to it so I might go straight on to the next which I've picked up somewhere.
Keri
How does Dr. Siri end up being kidnapped by a bevy of Hmong females? It was that darn Ye Ming. See what happens when you are physical body of a 1000 year old Laotian deity...everybody thinks you are up for grabs. This was another bumpy fun right for Dr. Siri and crew as the work to solve a murder of a body that has some extra explosive parts. Also can Dr. Siri stop a demon from claiming a young, Hmong female before it is too late? What about those two babies and a marriage for Dr. Siri, is that ...more
 Olivermagnus
The fifth book of the Dr. Siri Paiboun series begins in Vientiane, Laos, where a booby-trapped corpse intended for Dr. Siri, has been delivered to the morgue. In his absence, only Nurse Dtui’s intervention saves the lives of the morgue attendants, visiting doctors, and Madame Daeng, Dr. Siri’s fiancée. Meanwhile on his way back from a Communist party meeting in the north, Dr. Siri is kidnapped by seven female Hmong villagers under the direction of the village elder so that he can, in the guise o ...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Though a pleasant enough read, this installment of the adventures of Siri Paiboun seems somehow superficial, skimmed over. I don't know quite what I mean by that, but there it is. It was a very fast read, though peppered with anachronisms both cultural and chronological, such as Siri telling a young Hmong woman, "keep eating your spinach" (though I doubt either of them had ever seen a Popeye cartoon) and the young woman's father "punching the air"--a victory gesture that did not become current u ...more
Marfita
For a moment I thought this was going to be a "The Gods Must Be Crazy" story, a Hmong tribe worshiping a pogo stick.
Dr. Siri and his favorite adversary, Judge Haeng, are beset by Hmong insurgents who kidnap Siri (reminiscent of Interesting Times by Pratchett) to help them sent their headman's wife off to heaven (or wherever) and to exorcize the demon that has possessed and impregnated one of the young women. Although he has a shaman inside him somewhere, Siri has no idea how to navigate the oth
...more
Inga
Audiobook-Rezension:
Fall Nummer Fünf für Dr. Siri. Während dieser einmal mehr irgendwo in den Bergen von Laos verschwindet, bleibt es Schwester Dtui und Siris Verlobter Daeng überlassen, einen mysteriösen Mordanschlag auf ihn aufzuklären - denn Der Tote im Eisfach enthält eine Bombe. Während sich die Zuhause gebliebenen also darum kümmern, die Attentäter dingfest zu machen (in der üblich chaotisch-laotischen Weise), ist Siri Opfer einer Entführung. Eine kleine Gruppe von Hmong, einem verarmten l
...more
Kb
The fifth book in the series featuring Dr. Siri Paiboun, national coroner of Laos after the Communist takeover in the mid 1970s, seems to take a much more serious turn than its predecessors. There are fewer of the light moments that make this series so delightful. However, I very much enjoyed the James Bond style subplot, with its dependence on the villains having to show off their cleverness before despatching the heroes. The main story, involving Dr. Siri spending some time with a small group ...more
Randy
Dr. Siri has been kidnapped by a group of Hmong. They want him to rid their village of a curse, and exorcise a demon that has impregnated the 14 year old virgin daughter of the village headman. With his ability to navigate the spirit world, Dr. Siri, jumps into things only to discover, that as in much of communist Laos, things are not exactly as they appear.

I picked this book up because I continue to enjoy Dr. Siri's character. His irreverence is entertaining.

I finished the book because...well,
...more
Snap
Dr. Siri Paiboun is the 73 year old national coroner of Laos. He is off to the north to attend a communist meeting, something he is definitely not looking forward to. While there, he is kidnapped by Hmong women who believe he is Yeh Ming, the 1000 year old shaman who is supposed to inhabit Siri's body. Meanwhile, back in Vientiane at the morgue, Nurse Dtui discovers that a body delivered for autopsy has been booby trapped. Curse of the Pogo Stick is different from the previous novels in the seri ...more
Wyma
Cotterill has cast Dr. Siri in the role of a national coroner (and national hero) in Laos just after the war. Siri is in his seventies, wryly humorous, intrepid, at times audacious and foolhardy - as when he pushes the Communist military a bit too far with his requests to give the Hmong safe passage to Thailand. There is an honorable cast of regulars, nurse Dtui, police husband Phosy, Siri's old friend, Civilai, retired military, and Madame Daeng, a good friend who becomes something more.

Siri i
...more
Helen
I'm not sure how far back things have to be before you call it historical fiction but I'd say 2ritten in 2008 about Laos in 1977 counts. The investigator in this series is Dr. Siri Paiboun, the French trained doctor who is the seventy-three year old national coroner of Laos. It is the transition period between Royalist and Communist Laos so people are having to be very careful about what they say and to whom they say it. Dr. Paiboun made a rude comment during a political gathering and as a resul ...more
Dorothy
Whenever Dr. Siri gets called out of town for one of the interminable conferences he is expected to attend as Laos' national coroner, things seem to start popping at the Vientiane morgue where he works with his nurse Dtui and helper Mr. Geung. This time is no exception. While Siri is listening to boring lectures in the north of the country, a booby-trapped corpse is delivered to the morgue and only Nurse Dtui's quick wits save them all from catastrophe.

Moreover, as soon as Siri left town, two au
...more
Annabelle
My fifth Dr. Siri mystery, and a breath of fresh air, and delight form some of the forced plots of the last books. Dr. Siri is in a small village for a party meeting where he cracks his vulgur jokes like after a man dies, “The conference has suffered its first fatality. There will undoubtedly be more. There is a carryover plot, with the crafty, evil arch enemy of the doctor and nurse Dtui, the Lizard. Siri is kidnapped by some Hmong, because they know he has the shaman living inside him, and he ...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘A good socialist must be ambidextrous: able to chop down a might oak tree with his left hand and darn a shirt with his right.’

I enjoyed this novel. This is the fifth Dr Siri novel, and I suggest that intending readers read them in order as the last two (in particular) rely on character development realised in the earlier stories.
This book is different from the earlier ones. Yes, we have the same collection of colourful characters (where would Dr Siri be without Nurse Dtui, Mr Geung, Auntie Bpoo
...more
Tony
Nov 20, 2009 Tony rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes mysteries with a heart to them and anyone with an interest in Laos.
Shelves: novels
The simplest thing to say about this book is that if you liked the first four entries in this 1970s-set series about elderly Laotian National Coroner Dr. Siri Paiboun, then you'll like this fifth one. And if you haven't read those (Coroner's Lunch, Thirty-Three Teeth, Disco for the Departed, Anarchy and Old Dogs), go back and read them first, as this book assumes reader knowledge of events from those ones.

The story here involves Dr. Siri's road trip to a useless conference, which leads to his sp
...more
Heather
While I didn't enjoy the mystery quite as well as in his other books, the story was an interesting one. This time we find Dr. Siri kidnapped by a group of Hmong people who are preparing to escape from Laos. Cotterill found a creative way to relate the plight of the people abandoned by the Americans after the secret war in Laos.

It was a little disappointing to have our heroes separated again. I like the interplay between Siri and nurse Dtui as well as his other friends and colleagues.

I read a li
...more
Yeva
This book had the weirdest exorcism rite - bar none - that I've read yet. I loved Siri's journey to the Hmong village and the episode relating to the judge (you've got to read it!), but the part with the old lady called the Lizard fell short. In the first part of the book, the Lizard was truly diabolical but then the story moved from the Lizard and Dtui to Siri. I wanted more of the Lizard! Still, this was a really good read. Already have the next episode.
Richard
Unusual story set in Laos featuring coroner Dr Siri who is the super sleuth in the 5 books of the series. The Hmong hill people of Laos seek a shaman to halt the deaths of male villagers and they look to Siri for help. Meanwhile a royalist coup attempt threatens the capital, Vientiane.

The book offers an interesting insight into the communist world of Laos and the culture of the Hmong hill people who originate from Southern China. The Hmong have been marginalised due to a large number siding with
...more
Ru
i can't get over the feeling that this is the second book in a series... it FELT like a second book. but a good second book!

two parallel mysteries - one basically political and one overtly spiritual (and covertly political). dr. siri is the closest thing laos has to a coroner in 1977. someone sends a booby-trapped corpse to his morgue for an autopsy, but he isn't there at the time. his colleagues, friends and fiancee decide to track down those responsible - the chase is on! meanwhile, siri himse
...more
Audrey
Another great book in the Dr. Siri series. I love all the characters in these books and so reading one of these books is like getting together with old friends and catching up on each other's lives.

In this instance it just happens that the friends are always involved in some wild adventures and this time they include a kidnapping for Dr. Siri and his hapless boss the judge by some beautiful women.

And for his colleagues at the morgue some thwarted assassination attempts and a hunt for the murdero
...more
Maria
3.5. Not much happens with the characters all together as this book entails their going on separate adventures. I prefer the books where they all interact, but this is still an interesting and compelling read about Laotian culture and the ways in which communism works. I love these books enough to keep going even if this isn't my favorite of the series.
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142410
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 tau ...more
More about Colin Cotterill...
The Coroner's Lunch (Dr. Siri Paiboun, #1) Thirty-Three Teeth (Dr. Siri Paiboun, #2) Disco For The Departed (Dr. Siri Paiboun, #3) Anarchy and Old Dogs (Dr. Siri Paiboun, #4) Killed at the Whim of a Hat (Jimm Juree #1)

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