June 2015 Book a Month: The Coroner’s Lunch

The Coroner's LunchAs part of Bas Bleu’s 2015 Book a Month program, each month we’re offering discussion questions, author interviews, or other bonus materials to enrich your reading experience—for book clubs as well as thoughtful individuals. (We’ll do our best to avoid plot spoilers, but you should proceed with caution!)

Our customers lead us to some great reads! June’s selection, The Coroner’s Lunch, came to our attention via a Reader Review from Jean Albright of Indianapolis, Indiana. (Interested in submitting your own review? Scroll down for more info!) We’re grateful to Ms. Albright for introducing us to the delightfully cantankerous coroner-sleuth Dr. Siri. We hope you enjoyed the debut of this unconventional mystery series as much as we did!

1. The Coroner’s Lunch is set in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, established after the 1975 communist takeover. (Confession: We definitely needed a little refresher course in the country’s tumultuous history.) How well does Colin Cotterill evoke a setting—both geographical and political—so unfamiliar to many of us?

2. A cranky seventy-two year old doctor, dragged out of retirement to serve as national coroner, Dr. Siri is a most unconventional hero. And—oh yeah—he communes with the dead. Did you like Dr. Siri? How did his supernatural “gifts” influence your opinion of him? Do you think his abilities somehow negate his detecting prowess?

3. On page 15, we learn Dr. Siri’s take on communism: “He’d come to believe two conflicting ideas with equal conviction: that communism was the only way man could be truly content; and that man, given his selfish ways, could never practice communism with any success. The natural product of these two views was that man could never be content.” Do you think this is an accurate assessment of the challenges of communism?

4. In relation to the quotation above, do you think Dr. Siri truly believes man’s quest for contentedness to be futile, or does his dedication to his victims say otherwise?

5. Dr. Siri’s wry wit abounds, especially in his dealings with the Party hierarchy. How do you think humor helps him cope with the serious atrocities occurring around him?

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woman writingReader Review Submissions
If you know a good book that you’d like to introduce to our readers, why not write a Bas Bleu Reader Review? Reviews should be approximately 150 words and written in a conversational style. Send your Reader Review to:

Bas Bleu Review Editor
834 Inman Village Parkway, Suite 250
Atlanta, Georgia 30307

If we publish your review, we’ll send you a check for $50! We reserve the right to edit all contributions.

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