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Anarchy And Old Dogs (Dr. Siri Paiboun #4)

4.1  ·  Rating details ·  2,654 Ratings  ·  240 Reviews
An elderly man has been run down by a logging truck on the street in Vientiane just opposite the post office. His body is delivered to the morgue of Dr. Siri Paiboun, the official and only coroner of Laos. At the age of seventy-three, Siri is too old to be in awe of the new communist bureaucrats for whom he now works. Before he can identify the corpse, he must decipher a l ...more
Audio CD, 7 pages
Published September 10th 2011 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published August 1st 2007)
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Mar 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of eccentric aged detectives
Recommended to Carol. by: Richard Derus
Reading about Dr. Siri gives me the urge to sit down by a slow-moving river with a Lao cocktail (per Dr. Siri--half rice whiskey and the other half rice whiskey).

This time Dr. Siri and his long-term comrade Civilai are drawn into an investigation after a blind dentist is found dead, a letter written in invisible ink tucked inside his pocket. Dr. Siri consults a school teacher to break the code (and how I love Cotterill's affection for talented teachers!), leading Siri and Civilai on a journey to
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When my GR friends Carol. and Carol agree on something, you had better have a good reason to take a different path. I do not. I completely concur that Anarchy and Old Men is a gem in the series of stories about Dr. Siri Paibun, head coroner for the country of Laos.

Set in the 1970s, Laotians have overthrown their monarchy and established a Communist government. Dr. Siri Paiboun is now 74 years old and he is one of the last real medical doctors within Laos. The socialist/communist government (afte
Anarchy and Old Dogs is the fourth in the Dr. Siri series, set in 1970s Laos. For those new to the series, our protagonist is a 74 year old doctor who, upon the Communist takeover of Laos from its royal rulers, notwithstanding his lack of training and interest, is now the single Laotian coroner. He has no resources or equipment, and his colleagues are a nurse who aspires to attend med school in Russia, and an assistant who is as loyal as he is mentally limited. The cast of characters is rounded ...more
Richard Derus
Apr 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: -14,975* of five

The Book Report: Fourth of the Dr. Siri Investigations series set in 1970s Laos, post-Vietnam War era. Dr. Siri and his best pal since jungle-fighting revolutionary youth, Comrade Civilai the Politburo senior cadre and all-around curmudgeon, uncover a major problem in the course of an investigation into the death of an old blind dentist whose habit of coming by bus to Vientiane, the capital, to pick up a letter written in invisible ink every week is interrupted by a runaw
Feb 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Dr. Siri !!!! Thank you Colin Cotterill for continuing this series. I loved the first book in the series, The Coroner's Lunch, but I swear that they keep getting better with each subsequent book ! They are full of humor, political sarcasm, history of Laos and their culture and wonderful zany characters who you get attached to more and more with each book. And of course there's always a mystery or two for Dr. Siri and friends to figure out, sometimes with the help of dead people who arrive ...more
Dec 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: metaphysical
First Sentence: The post office box was eighteen across, twelve down, and it had a loop of wool around the door so Dr. Buagaew wouldn’t miss it.

A blind man, killed when hit by a bus, is carrying an envelope containing an apparently blank sheet of paper. Not only is it not blank, but it could have dire consequences for the country. Dr. Siri travels to a small village where a governor’s deputy died from electrocution in his bath. Was it assassination, suicide, accident or murder? A small boy has
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
I enjoyed this much more than I did Disco For The Departed. Although some of Cotterill's favourite Dr Siri motifs are still firmly in place, there is less emphasis on the "paranormal" aspect and more story. It reminded me strongly of The Coroner's Lunch, the book I found by accident and, like this volume, devoured in 24 hours.

A blind dentist makes a weekly trip into town to pick up his mail, and is crushed by a runaway truck. A young boy's body is fished out of the Mekhong River, tangled in a f
Jul 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay, totally fascinating book! Takes place in Laos in the 1970s and it's my favorite genre - a mystery! The characters are rich, the protagonist is a coroner in his 70s - and I felt that I was given a surreptitious history in the Southeast Asia conflict at the same time. Beautifully written and wonderful pacing!
Joyce Lagow
Jan 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

4th in the Dr. Siri Paiboun, national coroner of the People’s Democratic Republic of Laos, series.

As if hosting a thousand year-old Hmong shaman isn’t bad enough, Dr. Siri has to contend with a transvestite fortune teller who has an uncanny knack of predicting the future (after reciting some fairly terrible poetry of her own--that’s the price he charges). But Dr. Siri himself gets hooked on Auntie Bpoo, to the point of almost being distracted by the death of a blind dentist; it looks like an acc
Rob Kitchin
The real strengths of Colin Cotterill’s Dr Siri series are the colourful set of characters, the light and witty prose, and a wonderfully rich sense of place and history. Through the narrative he engages with weighty matters such as nationalism, socialism and familial relationships, without them dominating the story in some overloaded ideological manner. They’re a delight to read. Anarchy and Old Dogs is the fourth book in the series. Whilst the plot was interesting, I felt that it unfolded in a ...more
Genine Franklin-Clark

Another winner in this extraordinary series; oh, how I love this author and this series! The mix of Laotian Communist-late-seventies culture, the mysteries, the sly humor, the utterly charming characters and a bit of the supernatural continues to delight.
Graeme Roberts
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the wise and gentle mysteries of Dr. Siri Paiboun, the National Coroner of The Democratic Republic of Laos. Despite the sweaty heat and chaos, the 73-year-old Dr. Siri, former doctor to the communist insurgents of the Pathet Lao, persists with humanity and intelligence in solving crimes that are, of course, not strictly his job. His friends and workmates are as unique and lovable as Siri.
Aug 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You Say You Want a Revolution?

"Anarchy and Old Dogs" is Colin Cotterill's fourth investigation of Dr. Siri Paiboun, the national coroner of Laos. As with the previous three, it is set in 1977, about two years after the revolution delivered Laos into Communist hands. The wily and wiry Dr. Siri was in his youth a revolutionary firebrand, a fierce supporter of the People's government and advocate for the disposal of an abusive royal regime. But now 73 years old, Paiboun would prefer retirement to s
Huw Evans
Jul 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Colin Cotterill's creation, Dr Siri Paiboun, is an elderly French educated pathologist living in Laos just after the revolution that overthrew the French sponsored royalists. He struggles daily with socialist officialdom and ineptitude and longs to retire but he is the only pathologist in the country. Over the preceding books we are introduced to him and his small circle of trusted friends, upon whom he relies both for their help and their ability to listen to his deadpan humour without turning ...more
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Writers of a series of mysteries have a terrific challenge. Maintaining plotting and character, developing depth without disappointing the faithful readership is a burden. I've been disappointed before: even the sainted Agatha Christie repeated her plots, Elizabeth George deteriorated as the Lynley series progressed, Donna Leon lost her way with her charming detective Brunetti (the books became polemics), and even the Camilleri's latest Montalbano offering isn't quite up to his usual excellence. ...more
Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the fourth in the pathologist Dr Siri series set in newly communist Laos. I love the way Colin Cotterill just captures the right not of humour in his descriptions. He has a similar style to Alexander Mc Coll Smith who is a wonderful observer of people and you really feel you get to know all the charcters in his books.

We have Dr Siri who was hoping for a nice quiet retirement but the Communist Laos govt decided that he should be the government corona. He is supported in his role by a nurs
Jennifer (JC-S)
Jun 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: librarybooks
In this novel, Dr Siri Paiboun, the reluctant national coroner of Laos, is initially asked to discover the identity of a corpse delivered to the morgue in Vientiane. This is simply the beginning of a series of events involving the problem solving skills of our hero Dr Siri, his friend Civilai (currently a senior member of the Laos politburo), Nurse Dtui, Phosy (the police officer), and Auntie Bpoo, a transvestite fortune teller.
Set in the Laos of the 1970s, filled with action, unpredictable even
Nov 08, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries-noir
In 1975, the communist/nationalist Pathet Lao seized power in Laos. Dr. Siri Paiboun was one of the young, idealistic partisans who spent 30+ years of their lives helping to bring that about. Now in his 70s, he's tired and disillusioned with the inadequacies and incompetence of the regime but he's also the only candidate with the correct politics and the skills to be the country's chief coroner (pretty much the only coroner). He's also the reincarnation of a powerful Hmong shaman and can talk to ...more
Aug 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: laos

Dr. Siri Paiboun is a hearty 73 year old that is quite proud of having been an active force in the thirty-year struggle of the Pathet Lao in their efforts to throw off the yoke of colonialism. Sometimes when Siri is in doubt about certain aspects of his job he turns to the French expert Inspector Maigret. This is the case when he discovers a blank piece of paper in the pocket of a blind dentist who was hit by a bus. He remembers how Maigret used a formula of sodium bicarbonate to reveal hidden m
Jun 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another one in this series that I just loved. Our hero, Siri, and his supporting cast all get into a bunch of trouble, as usual. As always, there is the undercurrent of wry humor, disturbing politics, and murders and mysteries to solve. I can't say enough good things about this series. The books are easily read in one day... that's how long it took me to read this one, and I still had plenty of time to start another book! Now on to the next one!
Susan Kosel
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author has a great sense of humor.
Katrina Tan
I think the only one I did not enjoy, and did not complete...
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another immensely fun read from Colin Cotterill.
It's been a while since I read the previous book in this series, and it was wonderful to be back in the company of Siri, Dtui, Civali, and Phosy.
'Anarchy and Old Dogs' begins with the accidental death of a blind dentist. When Siri is called to examine the body, there's nothing mysterious about the dentist's death - except for the coded message in his pocket. The message hints at an anti-communist plot. While Siri has little faith in the shambolic
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A blind man traveling to get letters from a post box, an anarchist plot, more suspicious characters than usual, sneaky old friends, and spies in a refugee camp, all wrapped together with some gawdawful humor. The coroner and his friend hie off to investigate one death and find another that needs solving as well. The policeman and the nurse try to help and wind up investigating in a refugee camp in Thailand. Very twisty and with some insights into the conflicting attitudes toward old regimes and ...more
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't get enough of Colin Cotterill's books. Not only do you get a fine mystery, but you also get a glimpse of history in 1977 Laos as well as some good and bad spirits from times past. Times are muddy and unstable, and you begin to appreciate what revolution and change actually mean in terms of sacrifice and disappointment. But all is not dark and pessimistic. Dr. Siri, Dtui, Phosy, and Civilai tackle a hidden overthrow plot with some very surprising and hair-raising results (Mr. Gueng was re ...more
Feb 22, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, read-in-18
I loved the first two books in this series. Although I thought the third one was missing a lot of the signature charm of the first two, this one is an improvement. The investigation is not particularly interesting, but the complications are fun and I did laugh out loud during the zany climax.

The ending really shakes up the status quo, and certainly sparks my interest about what will happen next.
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this 73 year old doctor-turned-coroner in newly communist Laos in the mid 1970s. And I love the odd bits of cocktail-conversation-worthy oddities in I find in each book - in this one it was the Devil's Vagina Tree that supposedly grows in parts of Laos and Thailand. Now I just need a cocktail party to go to...
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: detective
National Lao coroner, Dr. Siri Paiboun, finds a coded message on the body of a blind man who was run over by a truck in Vientienne. Not only is the message in code, it was written in invisible ink. To get to the bottom of the "mystery" he finds himself in the possession of treasonous information.

Another good adventure with the detective/coroner.
Feb 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 Dr. Siri and the characters of this series mix humor, medicine, and magic to solve the mysteries turn up in the Laos coroner’s office. This story adds more layers, love and political intrigue -it’s an entertaining cocktail.
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really a sweet series of books about a coroner who works for the Communist government in Laos, on a dime budget, and whose idol is Inspector Maigrett. All the Laotians speak English like British people: "chaps, lasses, bloody hell," and so on, lol.
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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)
  • 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)
  • I Shot the Buddha (Dr. Siri Paiboun #11)

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“I’m left doing all the unskilled labor myself, which is exactly when you realize there’s nothing unskilled about labor.” 4 likes
“All right, here comes the philosophy. You can leave if you like but I suggest you stick it out. You don’t measure your own success against the size or volume of the effect you’re having. You gauge it from the difference you make to the subject you’re working on. Is leading an army that wins a war really that much more satisfying than teaching a four-year-old to ride a bicycle? At our age,” she said, “you go for the small things and you do them as well as you can.” In the back of the pony trap, squashed beside his two large boxes, Siri still felt Daeng’s lip prints on his cheek and heard her whisper, “Go for the small things and do them well.” It would be his new mantra. Forget the planet, save the garden.” 3 likes
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