The First Rule of Ten, A Tenzing Norbu Mystery by Gay Hendricks and Tinker Lindsay is the first in a projected series of three books about Ten, as he’s known. It won’t be published until January and I read it on the Kindle courtesy of NetGalley. Every private investigator needs a quirky background and Ten is no exception. The son of a Buddhist monk and an American heiress, he spent most of his childhood and teenage years in a monastery. He was a good student. Trouble was, he hated being a monk and had a secret passion for the Sherlock Holmes stories. At seventeen he was sent to America to teach meditation and as soon as he was twenty one fulfilled his ambition by joining the LAPD.
At the start of this book Ten leaves the police department and sets up on his own as a private detective. In spite of his dislike of monastic life, he still follows many of its rules, with some exceptions. Three things in my life present an ongoing challenge to the practice of nonattachment: my cat, my car, and my classic Super-grade .38. He’s left out beer and women. His police colleague Bill thinks he’ll starve; his technical advisor Mike tells him he needs a new computer. When Mike provides him with a new smart phone, At first, it was like trying to control little balls of mercury. Icons kept skittering away, disappearing and reappearing willy-nilly. Once I got the hang of it, though, I discovered that I not only had access to the Internet and my e-mails, I could also check on the weather, the stock market, Facebook, and YouTube.
Ten soon has a case to deal with. Several mysteriously sudden deaths seem linked and the connection turns out to be insurance policies on their lives taken out by a mysterious company. Following the trail leads Ten into danger and there’s plenty of guns and excitement for those who like that sort of thing. The new phone turns out to be invaluable: With the aid of my phone’s GPS, I was at his street in under ten minutes. I had a brief flash of guilt over trumping Sherlock’s meticulous tracking methods, then I thought, screw it, he’d be thrilled to have a toy like this. Dr. Watson could be a real downer sometimes. Ten solves the mystery, makes some money and fails only with Julie, a woman he falls for. The main interest of the book for me is the way Ten uses Buddhist practices to help him in tricky situations and to help other people, even dead ones. I also loved his enormous cat Tank, who is quite a character. I enjoyed this book and look forward to the next one.
Gay Hendricks is much more famous than I’d realized and well qualified to write convincingly about someone with Ten’s background. At the end of the book he thanks John D. MacDonald, T. Jefferson Parker, Michael Connelly, Sue Grafton, Robert Ferrigno, Don Winslow, Stieg Larsson, Georges Simenon, and Leslie Charteris. At the peak of this Everest of talent, of course, is the inimitable Arthur Conan Doyle, whose life I admire and whose talents I salute for giving me fifty-plus years of pleasure. I’m very grateful to have Tinker Lindsay as a co-author. Quite an eclectic list but Stieg Larsson?
Publisher: Hay House, Inc. Pub Date: January 01, 2012. ISBN: 9781401937768