At Publishers Weekly Lenny Picker interviewed Colin Cotterill about Slash and Burn, possibly the last mystery starring the acerbic Laotian national coroner. Part of the Q & A:
How did you come to create Dr. Siri?Learn more about the book and author at Colin Cotterill's website.
I’d worked with Lao refugees in Australia and alongside good old socialists in Laos, and I had a wicker basketful of stories and experiences. I began my search for a lead character in Thailand. One of the country’s major celebrities is a forensic pathologist called Dr. Pornthip. She has punk hair and piercings and has written some 30 gory books on her subject. I wondered what type of personality a Lao coroner would need to achieve the same reputation. And I came up with Siri.
What about Siri is uniquely Laotian?
I needed a character who was Lao, yet tainted by the West. As many Lao have done, Siri spent a great chunk of his life studying in Paris. He returned to his country with a pretty Lao nurse, a lot of Western ideas, and membership in the Communist Party. From then on, most of his life was spent fighting the French, the Americans, and the Lao royalists. By the time the wars were over, he was in his 70s and expecting to retire. But...[read on]
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