book reviews

Book Review: The Third Rule of Ten

The Third Rule Of Ten (A Tenzing Norbu Mystery, #3)The Third Rule Of Ten: A Tenzing Norbu Mystery (Dharma Detective: Tenzing Norbu Mystery)

by Gay Hendricks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

Received for review from Amazon Vine

This is the third in a series by Gay Hendricks and Tinker Lindsay about private eye Tenzing Norbu, a former Buddhist monk-turned ex-LAPD detective who is now a PI to the stars. Norbu has a series of rules he tries to live by, often fails. This book, The Third Rule of Ten (Hay House 2014), deals with the third rule–‘there is a fine line between healthy privacy and unhealthy secrecy’.

Norbu is hired to find a missing maid for her wealthy and politically-inclined boss, but instead finds murder, drugs, and a whole lot of bad guys. As he struggles to unriddle the clues that populate the case, he also fights to understand his personal life. Why does he suddenly want to eat meat instead of the vegan diet he’s used to? Why won’t he discuss it with his girlfriend? Why is he avoiding the council of fellow Buddhist monks?

I confess. I was drawn to this book hoping it would be a reprise of David Carradine’s role as warrior monk, Kwai Chang Caine, in the 1970s television series Kung Fu. I still miss the man’s gentle wisdom that explained so many problems in such a logical, peaceful manner. It isn’t, but Norbu does refer constantly to his Buddhist upbringing and the simple life rules that guided him during that time. For example:

“I realized I was witnessing karma happening right before my eyes. He’d gotten a reprieve when my first shot bounced off his bulletproof chest. But then he’d spurned that subtle gift from he universe and called in his destiny.”

While the plot is typical–cartels reek havoc on American innocents–the author’s voice is not. Consider these snippets:

  • “two lifeless bodies lay sprawled on the ground like a pair of indefensible reproaches.”
  • “in the months we had been officially together, I’d learned at least one very important lesson: Never, ever wake up a forensic medical examiner on her one day off.”
  • “It had been weeks, enough weeks to qualify as months.”
  • “Heather hears like a hawk sees.”
  • “…we rarely had time to really talk or better ye, not talk and just be.”

Overall, a good read, especially for the underlying theme of calm and peace in a chaotic, often mad world.

I gave it 4/5 stars, but I’m not sure I’ll read the other books. I wanted more Buddhist wisdom and less maverick. But many readers disagree with that assessment. Check out this post from the Progressive Buddhist.

More detective mysteries:

A Study in Silks 

Crimes of Memory


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of dozens of books on integrating tech into education, webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. 

23 thoughts on “Book Review: The Third Rule of Ten

  1. Pingback: Book Review: Compulsion | WordDreams...

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  3. Such an interesting review Jacqui… The plot being focussed on Norbu’s twist and turns sound intriguing and I have the sensation that this one is a dynamic book indeed!.
    I also like the excerpts you have highlighted over here.
    All the best to you!. Thank you, Aquileana😀


  4. Not usually a fan of detective books but this one seems like a book I’d enjoy. I’m a fan of stories that explain a history or culture about which I know little. Buddhism has always fascinated and confounded me. Another one on my list, but this one goes to the top. Thanks for a review that compels me to read the book – perhaps the series.


  5. “Tenzing ‘Ten’ Norbu may be the most interesting

    PI in modern crime fiction. The Third Rule of Ten,

    the third book in the series, is beautifully written

    and intricately plotted, but as always, it’s the heart

    and soul of Ten that carry the greatest appeal,

    drawing the reader on a spiritual journey that is as

    satisfying as the climax. I loved this book.”


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