The Coroner’s Lunch by Colin Cotterill (2004)
If you’re looking for something a little different in the mystery genre, try this! Interesting locale, great characters and an intriguing mystery make this a good book.
This novel takes place in 1976 in Laos. The royal family has been deposed, the professional classes have fled and the communists have taken over, and Dr. Siri Paiboun has just been appointed state coroner for the Laos People’s Democratic Republic. The 72-year-old Siri has got the coroner’s job because he’s the only doctor left in Laos. But when the wife of a Party leader is found dead and the bodies of tortured Vietnamese soldiers surface on a Laotian lake, all eyes turn to the new coroner and his small staff to figure things out. Siri looks to old friends, consults tribal shamans, and uses forensic deduction to figure out what’s going on.
Listen to an NPR interview with the author where he discusses the unique setting for the novel and how that affected his main character.