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Laos, 1976. The Communist Pathet Lao has taken over this former French colony. Most of the educated class has fled, but Dr. Siri Paiboun, a Paris-trained doctor whose dead wife had been an ardent Communist, remains. And so this 72-year-old physician is appointed state coroner, despite the fact that he has no training or even supplies to use in performing his new task. What he does have is curiosity and integrity. At his age he is not about to let a bunch of ignorant bureaucrats dictate to him.After months of boredom there is a sudden spate of bodies, one slain more mysteriously than the next. Resisting pressure from the bureaucrats above him and struggling to find evidence before it disappears , Dr Siri begins investigating torture and murder and then finds himself the victim of mysterious attacks.The first in a series of novels featuring Dr Siri Paiboun, The Coroner s Lunch boasts a charming cast of characters in a lush south-east Asian setting.