Friday, July 3, 2009

Curse of the Pogo Stick

One of the most popular mystery series at Broadway Books this past year has been the series by Colin Cotterill based in Laos and featuring Dr. Siri Paiboun. Dr. Paiboun is one of the last doctors left in Laos after the Communist takeover, a 77-year-old Paris-trained physician serving as reluctant coroner to the Communist Pathet Lao regime in Laos in 1976.

Readers get a bunch for their money with Cotterill's books: a solid mystery story in an exotic locale, tinged with political satire, mystical overtones, and witty irreverent humor. The series launched with The Coroner's Lunch in 2004. Curse of the Pogo Stick, the fifth book in the series, has just been released in paperback. The sixth book, The Merry Misogynist, will be published in hardcover this summer.

Cotterill was born in London in 1952 and trained as a Physical Education teacher. He has taught in Israel, Australia, Japan, and Thailand. He spent four years in Laos, initially with UNESCO, and wrote and produced a language-teaching series for Thai TV. He became involved in child protection and set up an NGO in the south of Thailand. He also joined ECPAT -- an international organization that combats child prostitution and pornography -- and set up their training program for caregivers.

Cotterill lives in Thailand, but he returns to Lao several times a year to help run charities and to conduct research. He says he can't seem to stay away from the country: "I keep coming for the people," Cotterill says. "Every time I come to Laos, there's always an element of the mystical. When I step off the airplane, I know something wonderful or terrible is going to happen to me."

Besides writing his Siri Paiboun series, Cotterill is also a cartoonist. Come check out his series; we think after reading the first you'll be happy to know that you've got five more awaiting you!

1 comment:

  1. I loved 'The Coroner's Lunch' and definitely want to check out 'Curse of the Pogo Stick' But I did not realize there were three more in that series. I like Cotterill's style and his sense of humor. I can see how he can be a cartoonist too.


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