Mar 10, 2013

Book Review: The Woman Who Wouldn't Die by Colin Cotterill

The Sunday Welcome to the Sunday Salon!

"What do we do if she comes back again?" Civilai asked.
"Who?" said Siri.
"Madame Peung." (ch. 13)
Madame Peung is the woman who wouldn't die.

Even though the villagers saw her after she was shot and watched her body cremated on a pyre, there she was again, walking around as if nothing had happened. Never mind that she now has a slight Vietnamese accent that she hadn't before. The village was convinced she was a witch returned from the dead.

Dr. Siri Paiboun, the Lao national coroner who lives in the small village, believes in the spirit world and convinces the newly risen Madame Peung to teach him to talk with spirits from the other world. Siri's wife, Daeng, is more skeptical. She has more to worry about with the return of a crazed Frenchman from her past intent on killing Daeng.  Siri is hard pressed to protect his wife with the help of the local police.

Siri and Daeng were upriver when the Frenchman first showed up to terrorize their village. Siri had been sent to oversee the Lao navy trying to recover the body of a general sunk on a boat at the bottom of the Mekong River. This recovery plan was put together by the general's brother, who enlists the help of the spirit medium Madame Peung. But there is something more sinister behind this excavation than what it seems. Siri has both this and the problem of the Frenchman to take care of.

My thoughts: A book with unusual but striking characters in an unusual series, featuring the Lao coroner Siri Paiboun, who is both a medical man and a sleuth. The combination of Lao beliefs and culture, and the history of the resistance against the French and Russian presence in the country are blended into the novel. This is the ninth in the series featuring the charismatic Siri and his wife Daeng. I've read two of the other novels but am eager to read all the rest!

Title: The Woman Who Wouldn't Die: A Dr. Siri Mystery Set in Laos
Author: Colin Cotterill
Published February 19, 2013; Soho Crime
Source: review book from publisher
Objective rating: 5/5

Submitted to Cym Lowell's Book Review Link-up


  1. Wow, this one sounds very intriguing...not my usual read, but you've grabbed my attention.

    I like the new look of your blog.


  2. I had never heard of this series but it sounds marvelously offbeat as well as connected to all kinds of historical threads.

    I am going to take a look at Cotterill's writings.

  3. This one sounds so interesting! I may have to give the series a try.

  4. This does sound really interesting and different.

  5. love series books! This one sounds fascinating and creepy ;)

  6. Books in the Burbs: The title sounds creepy but it isn't at all. The only scary person in the book is the mad Frenchman!

  7. This sounds like an interesting series! I'm going to have to give it a try.

  8. I like the new look of your blog!
    It sounds like you enjoyed this book a lot. I'll keep it in mind.

  9. Laos is an unique setting!!!

  10. def unusual series by the sounds of your review.. visiting frm Cym's


I love getting comments and your thoughts...

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