Monday, April 23, 2018

Under the Covers with Colin Cotterill

I have no memory of what I was researching. All I do remember is that it was during the wee hours of the morning, and I was looking at a page with all sorts of covers for the first book in one of my favorite series: Colin Cotterill's Dr. Siri Paiboun mysteries set during the late 1970s in Communist Laos.

Dr. Siri is in his late seventies, and he's the national coroner of Laos. In fact, he's the only coroner in the country and he has to make do with only two assistants and very little (and antiquated) equipment. When Dr. Siri was young, he was a firebrand who fought with the Communists in their takeover of Laos. Now many years have passed and he's had a chance to see what Communism has wrought in his country.

Cotterill has embued his main character with such a wonderful blend of wisdom, integrity, compassion, and sly humor that I, quite frankly, adore Dr. Siri. I'd hate to contemplate missing the chance to read each new book as it's published. So... you can undoubtedly see why I was transfixed by the sight of all those covers of the book that started it all. These covers are for hardcovers, paperbacks, and audiobooks, and they're from the USA, the UK, and Australia. Let's look at each different take on the very same book, shall we? Which cover does the best job of selling?

1. Australia, CD-Audio

2. UK, Audio Cassette

3. USA, paperback

4. USA, paperback, large print

5. UK, paperback reissue

6. UK, paperback

7. UK paperback, reissue

8. Australia, paperback

Which (if any) cover do you prefer?  The building on #4 fascinates me; I know I'd pick that one off the shelf to take a look. I like the colors of #6, and I like the subtlety of #7. That's the typical cap Communists wear in Asia. Well, at least in shape it is, but the flowers certainly give the impression that the wearer isn't a typical Communist, and readers learn very quickly that Dr. Siri is anything but typical.

Are there any fellow Dr. Siri fans reading this post? I hope so!


  1. I like Dr. Siri very much, Cathy. He is such an interesting, well-developed, and rich character. And the series is well-written, too, of course. Thanks for reminding me of these beautiful covers, too. Each is really appealing.

  2. First of all, I know you love this series and I've yet to try it. One day. Covers - well, I like #3 and #4 and actually #2 as well. My opinion. LOL

  3. I like covers 2, 3, 4 and 6. Such lovely artwork.


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