disco for the departed
Dr. Siri Paiboun is summoned to the mountains of Huaphan Province, where for years the leaders of the current communist government hid in caves, waiting to assume power. Now a major celebration of the new regime is scheduled to take place, but an arm is found protruding from the concrete walk laid from the president's former cave hideout to his new house beneath the cliffs. Siri must supervise the disinterment of the body attached to the arm, identify it, and determine the cause of death.

The autopsy provides some surprises, but it is his gifts as a shaman that enable the seventy-three-year-old doctor to discover why the victim was buried alive and identify the killer.
Read A Review:

Set in the People's Democratic Republic of Laos in 1977, Cotterill's engrossing third mystery (after 2005's Thirty-three Teeth) takes series hero Dr. Siri Paiboun, the 73-year-old national coroner who has recently discovered his shaman ancestry, and Nurse Dtui, his no-nonsense associate, from the capital, Vientiane, to remote Vieng Xai, where a cement-entombed corpse has turned up at the Laotian president's compound. At Kilometer 8 Hospital, Paiboun and Dtui meet Dr. Santiago, a charismatic surgeon on loan from Cuba, who uncovers crucial information about the victim's identity. As they close in on the killer, Paiboun and company must deal with soul-transfer, a marriage proposal, ancient rituals, frenetic dancing, racism and more murders. Horrific sacrificial rituals coexist seamlessly with the endless, banal red tape that hampers the investigation.
Paiboun's gift for conversing with the dead comes in handy as he endures such strange happenings as nightly disco music only he can hear. This witty and unusual series just keeps getting better.

From Publishers Weekly Aug.

Purely entertaining.... Elements of the ritualistic killings are pretty gross and the spooks can be scary; but as the author gently points out, life would be dreary without a few thrills.

The New York Times Book Review

The third in British author Cotterill's Dr. Siri Paiboun series, after "The Coroner's Lunch," and "Thirty Three Teeth," is even more unusual, assured and absorbing than the first two.

Portsmouth Herald

. . . this is the third book in Cotterill's exotic and engrossing series featuring Dr. Siri Paiboun, the 73-year-old national coroner...The supernatural happenings and unfamiliar location, time, and characters demand sophistication on the part of teen readers, but for those eager to explore new territory, the novel offers an
excellent alternative to the typical American or British mystery setting.

Robert Saunderson, School Library Journal