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

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  3,562 Ratings  ·  386 Reviews
Praise for Cotterill’s The Coroner’s Lunch:

“This series kickoff is an embarrassment of riches: Holmesian sleuthing, political satire and droll comic study of a prickly late bloomer.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

The Coroner’s Lunch is marvelous. The setting may be unique in Western fiction, and the characters are unique to themselves. Sweet but not sappy, offbeat but
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published August 1st 2005 by Soho Crime (first published 2005)
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Mar 20, 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
Feb 26, 2012 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
Aug 14, 2013 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
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
Jennifer (JC-S)
Jun 21, 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
Jun 01, 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 04, 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.
Jan 27, 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
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
Jun 27, 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
Sep 05, 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
Apr 10, 2013 Wanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: genre-mystery
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
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
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
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
Jul 23, 2013 Jo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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
Jun 27, 2016 Pili rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm so happy a friend lent me this book!!, otherwise I would have never read it (it's not the type of book I would have chosen at a bookshop)

A very compelling story presented in a pace slow enough to familiarize yourself with the characters, their culture, beliefs and the country it takes place but fast enough to keep the plot interesting and the desire to solve the mystery.

Ideal to be enyojed on a rainy'll find out why :)
Dec 18, 2014 Judy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like Dr. Siri Paiboun, a feisty and independent 72 year old doctor-turned-national-coroner (not his choice) who doesn't always conform to the party line in newly Communist Laos in the 1970s. I like that spirits communicate with him, although he's not always comfortable with that. And I love reading about the time and the culture. Even when all of it seems a bit over the top as in this 2nd book of the series.

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!
Sep 04, 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.
Jun 06, 2011 Debra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love, love this series!
Victoria Moore
When I first saw the book "Thirty-Three Teeth" by Colin Cotterill, then read that the main character was a 72-year-old coroner, named Dr. Siri Paiboun, I thought I was going to be in for a long, dry mystery with a lethargic senior citizen who talked in technicalities. After the first 25 pages I was happy to discover an enthralling mystery full of exotic intrigue. Set in Laos, amidst a Communist regime. Surrounded by equally rich and humorous characters the way the story vacillated between ancie ...more
Chris Fuerth
Jan 30, 2017 Chris Fuerth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually read this before I read the prior book, "The Coroner's Lunch." It is a better book in that it is less dark and more humourous. Although reading the first book fills in some of the blanks, I almost recommend reading this book first, to get you hooked on the series. Having read two of these books, so far, it seems a little like No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency in its quirkiness, without being quite so formulaic. Dr. Siri is a very relateable character and the constellation of characters ar ...more
Mar 17, 2017 Joni rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first state pathologist of Laos People's Republic, old Dr. Siri, delves deeper into the Lao spirit world while investigating a series of killings apparently made by a runaway bear. Even with its - how should I put it - visionary elements, I found the book lacking a certain vigour. Or maybe it was just bad spirits that befell me ;-)
Jan 18, 2017 Diane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interestingly different from most stories I read, partly because of the location. I love the way the author weaves the supernatural into the every day, perhaps because I believe many in the east see the world in this way (or used to). At times, I had trouble following what was happening which is why I didn't rate this book higher.
Oct 29, 2016 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The humor punched up a bit in the second Dr. Siri Paiboon mystery novel. More established in his role as the national coroner for communist Laos, Dr. Paiboon is living life in the fast lane as a 70-something, daring, spirit-communing crimesolver.
Jan 20, 2017 Kathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
The second in the series, and the "mysticism" makes a lot more sense. Perhaps in the first book it was supposed to come out of left field, just like it does for the main character. Now that he's getting used to it, we (the readers) are too.
Rita O'Connell
Number 2 in the charming series about Dr. Siri the reluctant coroner trying to do his job with no way to requisition supplies from the newly-taken-over Laotian Communist government. I like this series so much, I'm onto number 3.
Cynthia Pratt
Feb 18, 2017 Cynthia Pratt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dr Siri and the view into Laos as a communist country is what sells me on these books. The unexpected humor these characters find in their life as well as their abilities to sole mysteries is a joy to see. I am diffident about the spirit part of this book.
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Flora 3 24 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 (1 - 10 of 11 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)
  • I Shot the Buddha

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“Honesty can be a dirty gift. It can muddy a sparkling stream of memories.” 1 likes
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