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Thirty-Three Teeth (Dr. Siri Paiboun #2)

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,062 Ratings  ·  345 Reviews
Laos' reluctant coroner, confused psychic and disheartened communist, returns for a second case, employing his forensic skills and spiritual acumen to solve a series of bizarre killings.
Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 8th 2008 by Quercus (first published 2005)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Apr 11, 2012 Carol. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of cosy mystery
The second installment in the mystery series featuring Dr. Siri, my favorite coroner and host of an ancient Hmong shaman's spirit. While it contains the ingredients that make the series great, there are several stumbles that make this book more of a leftover noodle soup--a nice accompaniment to a meal but not enough for a feast.

In the beginning, several sidewinding storylines provided a great deal of pleasure. In Vientiane, two disparate bodies found with a badly damaged bicycle send the team of
Richard Derus
Apr 14, 2013 Richard Derus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been revised and can now be found at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud.
Thirty-Three Teeth, the second book in the Dr. Siri series set in '70s Laos, is as fascinating as the first. The mystery is dessert. The main course is our protagonist, Dr. Siri (the reluctant coroner), the residents of Vientiane and elsewhere in Laos, the culture, the ease with which Cotterill blends the spiritual with the physical -- without turning this novel into fantasy/magic realism. The challenge of investigation and solving crimes in a world where the authorities may not care if or why a ...more
Sep 26, 2013 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I continue to enjoy Dr. Siri's "cynical optimism" -- which just about sums up my view on life. His delightful, if slightly twisted, sense of humour and eastern spirituality carries the plot along at a brisk pace, and I am always disappointed it is over so soon. One would be very hard-pressed to find a more engaging, self-contradicting, paradoxical fictional detective. The plots are not "deep" or particularly devious -- but the exploration of character makes it all worthwhile. At the same time, I ...more
Jun 03, 2014 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoy the humor and irony of this mystery series. The characters are engaging and it is fascinating to read about Laos in the 70's and the challenges that the national (ie only) coroner faces on a daily basis. Everything from oppressive bureaucracy, lack of chemicals, limited resources (for example, the lab has one camera and is allowed 4 photos per "guest"---they save the last few for weddings, etc. and try not to get the photos mixed up), the fact that all autopsies must take place qu ...more
Sep 22, 2008 Terence rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries-noir
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer (JC-S)
Jun 23, 2008 Jennifer (JC-S) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: librarybooks
‘I’m a coroner, not a corpse.’
This is the second novel of the series featuring Dr Siri Paiboun, the septuagenarian national coroner of Laos. In this engaging mystery, Dr Siri has a number of puzzles to solve with the assistance of his unlikely team of colleagues and friends. Oh, and some help from the spirit world as well.
The communist regime of Laos brings its own flavour to proceedings. From the ingenuity of making casts of teeth marks when plaster is not available and the identification of go
Jan 29, 2012 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
“Hot, isn’t it?”
“Damned hot!”

Lao greeting

Dr. Siri Paiboun , the National coroner of Laos, returns for his second adventure. He is a widower, in his early 70s, still quite sharp-minded but looking to retire. He is also a shaman, so he has vivid and prophetic dreams and can see spirits lurking in the shadows.
Our setting once again, is the People’s Democratic Republic of Laos, mid-70s. A country in transition.
The story begins with Siri investigating several mysterious deaths, but the one that truly
Jun 28, 2012 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: atypical mystery lovers
Book 2 of the Siri Paiboun mystery series gripped me in its claws much like the first book, The Coroner's Lunch. The first half of the book moved a little slower than the second half, but I loved that sassy Nurse Dtui played a bigger role than in the first book.
The same components of Siri, the disrespected coroner, loyalty amongst co-workers and friends, voodoo and culture are prominent in this book also. I still get a kick out of Cotterill's style of writing.

Here are a couple examples:

A humor
First Sentence: The neon hammer and sickle buzzed and flickered into life over the night club of the Lan Xang Hotel.

Dr. Siri Paiboun, the 72-year-old coroner for Laos, is being kept busy by both the spirit and human world. An old black mountain bear has escaped its cage but is it responsible for the bodies who’ve been mauled? The burned bodies of two men have been found. Siri is summoned to the area of his birth in an effort to identify them.

A man working in the Department of archives jumped to
Sep 13, 2013 Anna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
After The Coroner's Lunch, I was really looking forward to this book, but it didn't hold up as well. Sure, most of the best characters were back, but this time I found it too heavy on the supernatural, with extended sections that really challenged my sense of plausibility. The plot also lacked the strong forward movement of the first book, perhaps because it didn't have as much sleuthing. There were even times well into the book when I found myself only somewhat interested and it was easy to put ...more
Dr. Siri Paiboun is a 73 year old doctor living in Laos in 1977 after the Communist revolution. He has been appointed as national coroner but spends much of his time solving the mystery of the deaths of his clients. Added to this is that he is the host for an ancient spirit shaman and the fun begins.

Mr. Cotterill has written an intriguing mystery with characters that are realistic and entertaining. This is the second in the series and it was at the same level of excellence as the first. As well
May 15, 2011 Pattie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I really don't enjoy Magical Realism in fiction, and don't believe in ghosts, spirits, or any other juju in real life. Because of this, I fought like hell against enjoying the 1st book in the series, "The Coroner's Lunch". But once I willed myself into a suspension of disbelief, I was able to enjoy this book.

The combined foreignness of life in a deeply impoverished and Kafkaesque communist society with the exoticism of the Laotian setting makes the series fascinating, even if the trade-off is a
Angshuman Chatterjee
I really liked the style of Mr.Cotterill... lovely phrases and sentences, adequately sprinkled with humour and irony. In my opinion, these books border on what we call literature and definitely much more than just a detective story.

The backdrop of the stories is Laos, a country less known and even more so in English writing. The period is ‘70s, the aftermath of the Vietnam war. The challenges our hero, the national coroner faces in his daily life in the communist ruled Laos, makes fascinating re
Joyce Lagow
Jan 22, 2011 Joyce Lagow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

2nd in the Dr. Siri Paibon, national coroner of Laos series.

It isn’t a Dr. Siri book if there weren’t weird deaths in the People’s Democratic Republic of Laos of 1977. Two men have been mysteriously killed on the same bicycle and it’s hard to figure out how exactly that could have happened. Then other mysterious deaths occur, and fear is about that a large, vicious animal--or worse--is preying on the countryside. Of equal significance, Dr. Siri discovers that he has 33 teeth (instead of the usua
Jul 23, 2013 Jo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Intriguing and absorbing mystery set in communist Laos. Dr. Siri Paiboun is 72 and, as a reward for his long and zealous service fighting in the revolution, he is appointed official coroner for the young communist government. In this capacity he is called upon to determine cause of death and becomes conversant with a number of ghosts and ends up solving murders. And the amazing thing about this book is that I became so immersed in the story that I found all of this perfectly reasonable! I really ...more
An engaging continuation from The Coroner's Lunch about a year later. Politics, crime, relationships, Buddhism, animism, shamanism, a little bit of horror, and the operation of an under-resourced coroner's office are well combined in this story. Cotterill is an expressive and often amusing writer - Chapter 2 is titled "Tomb Sweet Tomb." Siri Piboun, "reluctant national coroner, confused psychic, disheartened communist," (p.12) is a low energy, never-predictable, and observant detective. The audi ...more
Jan 19, 2016 Olivermagnus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thirty-Three Teeth continues the story of Dr. Siri Paiboun who, well into his seventies, is drafted to be state coroner of the newly liberated People's Democratic Republic of Laos, circa 1976. In this second book of the series, Dr. Siri has a number of puzzles to solve with the assistance of his unlikely team of colleagues and friends, as well as some help from the spirit world. In the first book of the series, The Coroner's Lunch, Dr. Siri had learned he was the incarnation of the spirit of a p ...more
Jan 05, 2016 Ruth rated it liked it
Shelves: spec-fic
c2005: FWFTB: coroner, Laos, Luang Prabang, weretiger, 1977. This book defies any standard classification. It is a historical detective story cum spec-fic story and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There are some really funny throw away lines and Dr Siri Paiboun is a fairly unique character. Close on his heels comes Nurse Dtui (Fatty) who steals some of the limelight away from Dr Siri. Euro Crime is quoted on the back of the book as saying that it is vastly better than the Botswanian series of books by ...more
Kenny Bellew
Feb 10, 2016 Kenny Bellew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thirty-Three teeth is book two of ten (as of Feb.2016) in the Dr. Siri Paiboun series. I read this for the Read Harder challenge for the book in SE Asia category. The story is about Siri, a 70-something old doctor, who has served most of his life as a jungle doctor, is appointed as national coroner of Laos, for Lao People's Democratic Republic in 1976, because he's the only doctor they can find in Laos when the Communists come to power. His staff includes an overweight woman, Drui, who is brilli ...more
John Lee
Nov 07, 2015 John Lee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There was something about 'The Coroner's Lunch' that appealed to me and so, quite unusually for me, I moved straight on to the sequel.
If you have read my comments on 'Coroner's Lunch' you will know other books vaguely of this type that I have enjoyed - but I dont know what it is about this series that appeals so. I enjoy a good who-done-it but this book has only an element of that style. I like books that are set in places and times that I know - this is neither. I have a problem with names that
Mar 10, 2014 Marfita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Years have passed since I read the first Dr. Siri story, thanks to a mention on NPR. It was a little gruesome for my taste, but I seem to have forgotten that and started up again. Cotterill takes you back to another time and place: Laos in the 1970s. I think this is what makes me return to the books - the description of life and locations.
Dr. Siri discovers that he has 33 teeth, just like Buddha and other spiritual luminaries. That would explain his ability to see ghosts and dream clues. But evi
Feb 02, 2014 Yeva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. The more of Mr. Cotterill's books that I read the more I look for them. Thankfully, the public library here has an amazing assortment of series, so I haven't had too much trouble getting the books in this series.

Dr. Siri is perhaps one of the most interesting main characters I've met in a long while. He is a hero in the true sense of the word, and it's not since I last read a book by Robert Parker that I've found such a hero. I enjoy reading about characters who are lo
May 10, 2015 Ron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second of Colin Cotterill's Dr. Siri books, and the second one I have read this year. I really enjoy the exoticness of these stories and am glad I found them. This story charmed me just as much as the "The Coroner's Lunch". Dr. Siri must again unravel the mysteries behind several deaths and events. I think that the various storylines and incidental characters are well done, and Dr. Siri is as irreverent as ever. I enjoy the history lessons included with the story - where we continue ...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
A good enough read, considering how quickly I devoured it (48 hrs, and that was with other activities and reading other books in there). Not bad for yet another novel series. Fortunately we are given enough "back story" (without it being too much) that it could be read as a stand-alone. However there are a few quibbles.

The author's perceived necessity to provide "hooks" in every chapter or at the end of every scene leads to an awful lot of ambiguous, throwaway remarks or narrative phrases that a
Feb 16, 2016 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The second book in The Dr. Siri Mysteries, Laos' only national coroner is once more flirting with disaster as he investigates strange deaths and accidents linked to an old chest, a series of brutal killings that may have been committed by an abused, old black bear(or something much worse), badly burned bodies with links to the deposed Royal family and malevolent spirits both human and supernatural seeking revenge upon the aged doctor. A great read, with unexpected twists and turns throughout. Th ...more
Rebecca Mulligan
Book Two: Journey With the Spirits

Laos is in the middle of its hot season. The Laotians are attempting to adjust to life under communism. The spirits are being ignored. This is the setting for book two in the doctor Siri series. The doctor and nurse T'dui face two mysteries. First, there are two communist victims who die in mysterious circumstances. Second, an unknown animal is attacking and killing innocent passersby. In his attempts to solve them, Dr. Siri comes face-to-face with the spirit wo
Dec 08, 2015 Holly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dr. Siri is a delightfully crotchety protagonist. His connection to the spirit world puts an interesting spin on already intriguing murder mysteries. I'm curious to see where this series goes.
Enjoyed the first book - The Coroner's Lunch - better. But, still a delightful read. How often do you read books about Laos and actually laugh out loud!
Dr. Siri is at it again. There is to be no rest for this 72 year old coroner. When bodies start to turn up that are horribly mutilated, and the investigation involves his able assistant nurse Dtui, Dr. Siri knows he can not rest until the murderer is discovered.

I picked up this book because I really enjoyed the first in the series. It wasn't just the setting of newly communist Laos in the 1970s, but a combination of the character, Dr. Siri, and the way he sees himself fitting into the new regim
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Flora 3 22 Mar 02, 2013 11:26AM  
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Dr. Siri Paiboun (10 books)
  • The Coroner's Lunch (Dr. Siri Paiboun, #1)
  • Disco For The Departed (Dr. Siri Paiboun, #3)
  • Anarchy and Old Dogs (Dr. Siri Paiboun, #4)
  • Curse of the Pogo Stick (Dr. Siri Paiboun #5)
  • The Merry Misogynist (Dr. Siri Paiboun, #6)
  • Love Songs From A Shallow Grave (Dr. Siri Paiboun, #7)
  • Slash and Burn (Dr. Siri Paiboun, #8)
  • The Woman Who Wouldn't Die (Dr. Siri Paiboun, #9)
  • Six and a Half Deadly Sins (Dr. Siri Paiboun #10)

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“Honesty can be a dirty gift. It can muddy a sparkling stream of memories.” 1 likes
“May I ask how your revolution's going?

Revolutions always go more smoothly around a campfire in the jungle than they do in real life.”
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