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The First Rule of Ten
A Tenzing Norbu Mystery, No 1
Dharma Detective
Gay Hendricks and Tinker Lindsay

Hay House Visions
January 1, 2012 / ISBN: 978-1401937768
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense / Police Procedural

Reviewed by Beth E. McKenzie

Sherlock Holmes strikes again! This time Dr. Watson's faithful descriptions arrive in India to save the sanity of a young Tibetan acolyte in a Buddhist monastery and encourage him on to his life's work as a Los Angeles Police Detective. The grown-up Tenzing Norbu we meet is a good detective and a good man even if he does have a few issues, like, well, his father the Lama, and not to put too fine a point on it, women.

He gets a wakeup call for changing his life when a suicide's bullet ricochets and grazes his temple. There are going to be no more domestic violence calls in his future as a private detective, or so he thinks. The first day on the new job a woman shows up at his house looking for her ex-husband and ex-drug buddy, the previous owner of the house. Ten doesn't have Zimmy's contact information and doesn't like her so he sends her along. The next morning the local cops are knocking on his door to find out who the dead woman in the park is and why her VW visited Tenzing the previous day. The investigation leads Ten to a commune run by a suicide cult, a sad father and son with an almond orchard almost as dead as their relationship, a pig farm, and the most exclusive club in LA county.

I couldn't figure out why Mr. Serenity was such a jerk with his girlfriend, and why she was so thin-skinned. It is like he went out of his way to be terse at times she intentionally took umbrage. Telling somebody that something is none of their business is setting boundaries, not playing games; but you should at least be polite about it, especially when you are in bed together. And there were a few technical problems with the story like the environmental contaminant found is not credible in the volumes required to cover the acreage discussed, especially not in Southern California. And how is Ten going to explain having all of the evidence linking all of the crooks together when it was obtained by an international computer hacker? The murders and attempted murders are probably more than enough for the police to get warrants to obtain the information legally, but even P.I.s are not allowed to break the law for "the greater good".

Overall it was an interesting story with many layers and well-developed characters. Ten's meditations were detailed enough to follow along, and weren't force-fit into the story. His cat, his friends, and his possessions were all pieces of the solution to the case, not just filler material. I hope others pick up the piece of nostalgia that I did with a glance back to the Magnum P.I. series. Thomas Magnum was always explaining to us the rules he's going to put in his P.I. book. The Second Rule of Ten is already being prepared for us.

Reviewer's Note: Holiday: Losar (Tibetean New Year) mentioned in text, Year of the Iron Rabbit being (Losar 2138) March 5, 2011
Reviewed 2012
© 2012