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Slash and Burn (Dr. Siri Paiboun, #8)
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Slash and Burn (Dr. Siri Paiboun #8)

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  1,817 Ratings  ·  221 Reviews
The good doctor and renowned coroner needs a holiday. But will he ever return?
Hardcover, 374 pages
Published October 1st 2011 by Quercus Books (first published 2011)
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Readers meeting Dr. Siri and his cohorts for the first time in this eighth in the Siri series might very well wonder what they had stumbled into. Farce, cross-dressing, and the supernatural are not characteristics we instinctively think of when reviewing our knowledge of communist Laos, but Cotterill shows us that Laos has it all. A world more remote from everyday American life would be hard to find, but Cotterill manages to make a seventy-plus-year-old government coroner the best guide to Lao l ...more
John Brooke
Apr 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is another funny and informative Dr. Siri mystery from Colin Cotterill. It is not the latest (published 2011). But it fits seamlessly in the series, albeit with references to prior episodes, but these in no way hinder your understanding of the story at hand.

Laos, 1978, the ongoing aftermath of the Viet Nam war. The victorious Communist regime continues to struggle with a workable civic and social structure. Forget about “prosperity” or even basic amenities for most citizens beyond the elite
Janet Martin
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The prose, the humor, the characters and the narration are just as good as ever. What kept this one from being a 5, in my opinion, was that nothing much other than a visit with some of my favorite characters in fiction happened until about halfway through the book. Not part of my rating, this book also ventures deeply into politics and history, presenting viewpoints of the conflicts in IndoChina which may be new to US citizens. Time spent with Dr Siri and his friends is always time well spent.
Feb 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The last?! Dr. Siri paiboun book about the lone state coroner of laos, and his crew of competent cutups investigating a possible MIA in the tribal NE part of the country in 1978. the usual mayhem ensues and dr. siri’s ghosts and spirits help him out of a bad bad jam. Fun mysteries, good plots, sardonic and funny characters, and lots of good info about SE asia and laos in particular during the 1970’s (just after usa dropped millions and millions of bombs on them in a “secret” campaign, [thanks tr ...more
Joe Stamber
Sep 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-read, read-2017
Hoping to wind his way down to his elusive retirement, Dr Siri is instead whisked across the country as part of an investigation into MIA American servicemen. The investigation is a joint initiative with the Americans, and throws an interesting group of characters together. Of course, the plot is secondary when experiencing a Dr. Siri Paiboun novel. Listening to Clive Chafer perfectly narrate Colin Cotterill's clever, informative, witty and charming prose is such a delight that all I want to do ...more
Heidi Burkhart
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this series! Dr. Siri Paiboun is real to me.
Jun 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this latest adventure of the ever-entertaining Dr. Siri Paiboun, national coroner of Laos, the good doctor is "chosen" by the party leaders to accompany his nemesis Judge Haeng as members of a multi-national team going to a remote site in Thailand to find out what actually happened when the son of a US Senator crashed his helo in this unknown village. There are varying versions of how the aviator came to be in the area where his helicopter crashed, and how the chopper wreckage was discovered. ...more
“A good communist is like a tree. He stands firm but knows how to bend in a strong wind. He is fertile but gladly gives up his nuts to less fortunate creatures”

Slash and Burn, the eighth installment of the Dr.Siri mysteries, starts off when an American delegation led by Major Potter visits Laos, starting a joint operation to search for an American helicopter pilot who was lost during the war. Although presumed dead, a photograph delivered to the pilot’s dad, an American senator showed that he wa
Dec 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Dr. Siri Paiboun mystery set in 1970's Laos. Dr. Siri really wants to retire from his post as the national coroner of Laos. He's only just recovered from near-death at the hands of the Khmer Rouge and since he's over seventy, he figures he deserves to spend a few years relaxing with his wife. But he gets roped into one last job on a junket to northern Laos looking for the remains of a missing American pilot.

Accompanying Siri--at his insistence, via a little blackmail of Judge Haeng, his nemesis-
Mar 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Slash and Burn was a total departure from the norm in this series. It reminded me of an Agatha Christie novel, but of course with Mr. Cotterill's own little twist. Dr. Siri and company were in full detective mode with this one, and the action happened at a little hotel high in the hills, the Friendship Hotel. Of course, it was shrouded in smoke and the helicopters couldn't leave which left our merry group stranded with a bunch of Americans and a murder. This book was great fun. I enjoyed the pol ...more
Georgiann Hennelly
This is the first Dr Siri book i have read. Slash and Burn is set in 1978 and relations between Laos and the U.S. are still tense. Siri is ordered to assist a group of Americans who are searching for the remains of a helicopter pilot whose helicopter went down during the war. Mishaps are numerous and things begin to go terribly wrong. Cotterill uses quite a few Americanisms mixed in with Laotians dialogue in places it was laugh out loud funny. The question is will they find what they are looking ...more
The series just gets better and better.
The old Doc Siri his wife, colleagues and friends all find themselves assigned to a cushy job of joining a US delegation of looking for a dead US pilot who went missing in the CIA war on Vietnam. Unexploded bombs, an interpreter who can't speak English, spirits, a cross-dresser fortune teller, spies, bad guys and a scene where everyone gets high combine to make this book very humorous, a mystery and a reminder of the way the US fought it's war in Vietnam.
Feb 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: gone, library
I am mean with the stars - actually I really liked it. He tosses loads of characters in the air and mixes them around and I didn't get confused at all. I read that an Australian company was closing down a Laos gold mine in 2014 and it sounds like it was spite because the Lao government had realised it was making virtually nothing from the mining concession and wanted a decent cut! So 30 years after the book is set the 'Western Powers' are still extracting wealth from the country..... no surprise ...more
Edwin Battistella
In Slash and Burn, the septuagenarian coroner Dr. Siri is pressured by his long-time rival Judge Heng to aid in the possible recovery of a long-missing US helicopter pilot, who happens to be the son of a wealthy US senator. The story becomes an Agatha Christie type story –everyone is a suspect and they all end up in a room together—but one set in the jungles of Laos and resolve with some local magic and herbalism. Dr. Siri and his team are a fine ensemble and Cotterill provides plenty of red her ...more
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: skurril
Immer wieder einmal habe ich mich gefragt: wenn die zierlichen (ggf. unterernährten) asiatischen Näherinnen in Myanmar die XXXL-BHs und -Unterhosen für die überernährte westliche Welt nähen... was für ein Bild haben sie von den Frauen, die solche Textilien tragen??? Vermutlich so ähnlich, wie Dr. Siri eine us-amerikanische Diplomatin beschreibt: "Sumo in a sundress". Haha. Das wird mir so schnell nicht aus dem Kopf gehen. Leider wirkt "Sumo in a tracksuit" nicht annähernd so würdelos. Es ist ein ...more
Although his escapade in Cambodia in the previous book should have sent Dr. Siri Paiboun into retirement, he is asked to investigate the site of a helicopter crash, trying to find and identify the remains of an MIA pilot. Since the presence of US pilots and aircraft in Laos was controversial and denied in the States, the search has unusual political overtones. A group of US investigators including a Senator, arrive on the scene. Then, one of these Americans is found dead in his hotel room from w ...more
Dr Siri gets railroaded into a fools errand along with his nemesis and a collection of Laotians and Americans, but he tosses in a monkey wrench by insisting upon bringing his own team of professionals. There are more red herrings and misdirection than usual, along with a non American perspective on the real reasons for interference in the wars in Indochina. The fortune teller manages to appear and proves to be more useful than expected. Be ready for more twists than a bag full of pretzels and so ...more
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This series is such a treat. The mysteries are not the strongest, but the characters are beyond wonderful. And the setting in Laos in the late 1970's is an eye-opening experience. The author while sympathetic to the goals of the revolution and respectful to the people, has a wry and amusing perspective on the actual situation.
Sep 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was a little lost in the varied twists and turns, maybe because I was reading a chapter when I had time. I am still a great fan of Dr. Siri, Dtui, Phosy, Mr. G, and Ms. D, Aunti Bpoo, great reading there. I enjoy this author's style of delivering the denouement, it is believable!
Diletta Sa
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good story set in Laos and although it is fiction it gives some realistic facts about the Vietnam war (or the destructive American war as Vietnamese call it). It's a mixture of humour and crime in a very poor and fascinating country. I would definitely recommend it
Gregory Stevens
I was a bit disappointed. I was expecting some humor and found none. Didn’t care much for the characters. but the plot was pretty good.
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have not been able to get the later Dr. Siri mysteries in order, but it doesn't matter. Once you have the main characters down, you can sit back and enjoy the ride.
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was an audible book and read by Clive Chafer -well done, liked the mystery story line and the setting of the post Vietnam history reference. It has a funny sort of flare to it.
Jennifer Fredin
Jan 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great Dr. Siri who done it by Colin Cotterill. This time Siri and friends go on a hunt for an American MIA who went down some years before in northern Laos near the Thai border.
P.D.R. Lindsay

There’s been a trend for some years to set murder mysteries in exotic locations. Indeed there’s one Crime Small Press which only publishes crime novels if the action takes place in somewhere like the Sahara or Mongolia and the main characters are indigenous too. Certainly there has been a flood of grim serial killer/FBI crime novels, police procedural novels and spunky female P.I. novels, perhaps readers needed a change. Alas, what happened was that a whole range of poorly researched, set in Tim
Apr 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
After the misadventures our admired hero, the Laotian against-his-will-coroner Dr Siri had to suffer in the book Love Songs from a Shallow Grave (Dr Siri Paiboun Mystery 7) he surely deserves an all-expenses-paid holiday trip to the northern mountains of Laos.
The more as he is literally counting the hours and minutes to leave his undesired working place for the long merited retirement.
But - what is a holiday without Your nearest and dearest?
In the end, with a little help from a close friend name
Cathy Cole
Dec 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First Line: You know? Being shut up in a cage with a live bear was a piece of cake compared to being drunk and high in charge of a half-a-million dollars' worth of flying metal.

Dr. Siri Paiboun, the National Coroner of Laos, is getting up close and personal to the age of eighty. He's announced his retirement, and he's counting down the days until he no longer has to deal with his incompetent superiors. You know what happens when you begin that countdown, don't you? Sure enough, Dr. Siri is place
The 74-year-old Dr. Siri has been trying to retire for years, but his country, 1978 Laos after the Pathet Lao revolution, just won't let him go. Now, though, it seems as if he might actually be able to achieve his long-held dream of retirement to spend his final years relaxing with his new wife and famous noodle shop owner, Madame Daeng. He shouldn't be counting the days, however, because his country has just one last assignment for him.

In 1968, there was a helicopter crash somewhere in the nort
First Sentence: You know?

Dr. Siri, the nearly 80 year old corner of Laos, wants to retire and spend some time with his wife before he dies; a death predicted by the local transvestite fortuneteller. Yet it agrees to one last job. Ten years earlier, during the Vietnam War, a US fighter pilot went down in the jungle. A search party of Americans and Laotian scientists and high-level politicians set out to find the pilots remains. They don’t expect to be trapped in a remote cabin due to smoke. Even
Julia Christiansen
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.
Slash and Burn focuses on Americans and their role in conflicts in Laos and Vietnam in the 1970s rather than on Asian culture and characters.
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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 (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • The Woman Who Wouldn't Die (Dr. Siri Paiboun, #9)
  • Six and a Half Deadly Sins (Dr. Siri Paiboun #10)
  • I Shot the Buddha (Dr. Siri Paiboun #11)

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“A good communist,” the man had said, “does not let go of the plough halfway across the paddy and leave the buffalo to find its own direction. He eats with her, tends to her injuries, and sleeps with her until the job is done.” Siri had resisted the temptation to spread the word that the Party was advocating bestiality.” 1 likes
“Old man,” she said. “Don’t you want to prepare or something?”
“Prepare what?”
“Yourself. For death.”
Siri laughed.
“Well, Bpoo. Let’s see. If the Buddhists are right, I’m just on my way to the next incarnation. Unless there’s a manual for how to behave correctly as a gnat I’m not sure how I’d prepare for that. If the Catholics are right, nothing short of an asbestos suit and a glass of iced water will help where I’m going. And if the communists are right, you do your best and when you’re gone they put up a statue in your honor and the locals dry their laundry on it. So, if I’m going, you’re the heir to today’s legacy.”
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