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The First Rule of Ten

(Tenzing Norbu Mystery #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  1,575 ratings  ·  220 reviews
“Don’t ignore intuitive tickles lest they reappear as sledgehammers.”

That’s the first rule of Ten.


Tenzing Norbu (“Ten” for short)—ex-monk and soon-to-be ex-cop—is a protagonist unique to our times. In The First Rule of Ten, the first installment in a three-book detective series, we meet this spiritual warrior who is singularly equipped, if not occasionally ill-equipped,
Paperback, 312 pages
Published January 1st 2012 by Hay House Visions
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3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,575 ratings  ·  220 reviews

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Feb 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable and A Fun Read!
The synopsis of this book immediately caught my eye. Ten, short for Tenzing, is a Tibetan monk who after years of chanting longed for a different way of life. As the Buddha says, change is inevitable and that was something Ten desperately wanted; he wanted to be a detective. Ten finally leaves the monastery, travels to Los Angeles, joins the LAPD and eventually becomes a private detective. This novel was a fun, enjoyable, easy read, with many thought-provoking life lesso
Benjamin Thomas
I'm often skeptical when I try a new mystery; I tend to expect some kind of formula writing, or a re-hash of stuff I've read before. So it takes an intriguing premise or character for me to give them a try. Ten Norbu, the protagonist of this novel, is a former Tibetan monk, turned LA cop, and now will attempt to make a go of it as a private detective. OK, that's certainly intriguing enough to get me to give it a whirl. But how would it measure up to my expectations?

Folks, I can honestly say, thi
Ije the Devourer of Books
Oct 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing

The first rule of Ije is to read as many great murder mysteries as possible.

The second rule of Ije is that the mystery must keep me guessing, no easy solutions please.

And this book delivered and I am thrilled to have another mystery series to work through. (Yay)

But who is Ten?

Tenzing Norbu was brought up by his alcoholic mother in Paris and Buddhist monk father in Tibet. As a child when his mother died he moved from France to Tibet to become a monk at the same monastery that his fat
Susan (aka Just My Op)
Apr 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who like thoughtful rather than violent mysteries
4.5 out of 5 stars. This is my new favorite series in the mystery genre. I love the character Tenzing Norbu. The writing is smart and fun, and the mystery doesn't involve overly gruesome murders and doesn't need to. Ten, a former Buddhist monk, teaches as well as learns as he begins his life as a private investigator, and some lessons are harder than others.

I initially wondered if I had missed a first book in the series because there were references to his life as an LAPD officer in the days bef
Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
Tenzing “Ten” Norbu is a Buddhist and newly appointed private investigator. This first client is a woman named Barbara Maxey. She asks ten to give her ex, Zimmy Backus a warning. That he might be in trouble. Ten does not really take Barbara too seriously. That is until she turns up in the morgue dead as a doornail.

I liked the idea of the character Ten. I like that he was a Buddhist private investigator. I have not come across a character like this before. So my interest was piqued. Unfortunatel
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am not going to even attempt to write an unbiased review, because I cannot suppress my true fan boy passion for a unique mystery novel that feels like an old detective movie set in a modern world with deep insight of Buddhist. The writers had me at ex-monk turned cop with daddy issues. Minus the murder, being Tibetan, and being a cop; my life mirrors Ten’s. ;) Korean-American boy with daddy issues raised a son of a Pastor, following in daddy’s footsteps and reveling to carve his own path. I al ...more
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fun Buddhist character, with a splash of plots
May 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Tenzin Norbu is truly a one-off: an ex-Buddhist monk and ex-homicide detective who applies the principles of Mindfulness to the job of solving of murder mysteries. What sets this character apart from any other contenders in the detective fiction market is his adherence to the Buddhist practice of 'checking in' with his visceral and emotional states in each situation that requires a considered response from him. With a taste for good wine, an occasional cold beer, and an eclectic approach to food ...more
Nov 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
I’m surprised that this book has so many four and five star ratings. I’d give it two and a half. It’s readable and interesting enough to get you to the end but it certainly doesn’t belong in the first rank of crime fiction. Several Goodreaders suggest that it doesn’t follow a formula. But it has all the formulaic elements of detective fiction: an interesting, but flawed detective, good atmospherics, a dead body to start the action, then the pealing of the onion of information that leads the dete ...more
Amy Corwin
Mar 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, mystery
"The First Rule of Ten" is a fascinating mystery featuring an ex-Buddhist monk who became a police officer and has now quit to become a private investigator. As you might expect, the books has a definite zen-like quality to it. :) Tenzing Norbu, nicknamed Ten, is an interesting character, but I felt a little lukewarm about him. I liked him and his interaction with John D, an old farmer with cancer, but Ten came off as a bit of a jerk at times, particularly where women were concerned, hence my ov ...more
Dec 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Tenzing Norbu is a complicated man. The product of a flighty, self-absorbed mother and a Tibetan father, he was raised in a monastery in Tibet, eventually moving to the West, leaving monastic life behind, and becoming a police officer.

After a near-miss during a call, he decides to leave the force and become a private investigator. His first case isn't so much acquired as it is dropped on his head, in the person of an escapee from a religious cult, trying to warn Ten's landlord of a shadowy thre
Grady McCallie
Nov 06, 2013 rated it liked it
The concept -- a Tibetan Buddhist ex-cop striking out as a private eye in Los Angeles -- is interesting, if rife with potential for cultural appropriation. The plot is fine, mixing a mobbed-up hog farm with an odd cult and insurance fraud and murder; and there's the obligatory romantic interest. But somehow, this just didn't work for me. I think the authors perceive human nature on a different set of wavelengths than I do, and throughout the book, I felt like I was trying to absorb the story thr ...more
Diane S ☔
Jan 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 Hard to come up with a unique concept for a private detective but these authors have managed to do just that. Ten has been raised in a monastery and was a Buddhist monk, which gives this mystery a different spin. Meditation, an organic diet, in touch view of nature and quite a bit of humor is interspersed with the solving of the mystery. Loved reading his philosophies and his supporting characters are enjoyable as is the storyline. A new character to savor and enjoy. ARC by NetGalley.
Sep 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
This book seems to have been written for me! A great mystery, set in Southern California, and the detective is in touch with intuition, meditation, visualization, and good food! (And he has a cat!) the discussions of karma and compassion added depth to the story.
Apr 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i think this is my first grown up detective book since i read Encyclopedia Brown in the second grade! I really enjoyed this book. I liked the juxtaposition of Tibetan monk and private detective in the main character. Just the right amount of humor too...hope there are more books to come!
Jun 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club-read
I loved it. The character of Ten appealed to me. There were certain technicalities that didnt add up for me but I loved the lightheatedness of the story... I will definitely read more of the series.
Ellen Chronister
Jul 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
good read. thanks Babs for the referral. I will continue to read the next one in the series.
Lorna Nicholson
Fun, fun read. I'm a mystery buff and this book was totally refreshing.
Jun 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
I think I'm going to really enjoy this series!
Jeremy C. Stone
Ok, but painful inner dialogue.

Not bad, really, but not great either. The main character was not especially believable but fairly interesting. His inner dialogue was inconsistent and unrealistic. His back story, while a possible fertile field was shallow and often made little sense. Little time spent on deeper plot details exposed the fact that the other created a rather silly and, again, unrealistic crime scenario. As far as the actual writing, it was average with a few gaps and passages that
Pat Samuelson
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Don't ignore intuitive tickles lest they reappear as sledgehammers." That's the first rule of Ten. Tenzing Norbu ("Ten" for short)-ex-monk and soon-to-be ex-cop-is a protagonist unique to our times. I liked Ten. He has his flaws and is working on them.

The mix of Ten working on being more aware and paying attention to his intuitive tickles was intriguing. We're introduced to a core group of friends and supporters as well as several antagonists. Ten starts his first case as a private detective o
Kenn Haspel
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely delightful read. Well paced and engaging, I would have finished the book in one sitting if I could have afforded the time. The lead character was a delight; believable foibles that made him a relatable character, when his backstory could have made him alienating to non-Buddhists. The adherence to Buddhist beliefs was a treat, with the major exception of the lead regularly consuming alcohol with no mention of the 5th precept.

I look forward to the rest of the series.
Cara Noyes
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love that the protagonist of the story is a Tibetan ex-monk, police-officer turned private detective. I love that he addresses his human nature with humor and then applies the Buddhist teachings he learned in the monastery. On top of all of that, this was a fun detective story.
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Decent LA detective story but disappointed me by being such a typical LA detective story when I’d hoped for more. Better than many (no name dropping, not much focus on the ultra-wealthy) but still very typical in terms of women-as-props, special gun and car, etc.
Julie Cox
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended. Ten, our hero, is a former Buddhist monk turned former LAPD officer turned PI. In this novel, we see his transition from the LAPD to working as a PI on his first case. Very engaging, and Ten continues to be a practicing Buddhist despite leaving his robes behind.
Janet L. Gimlin
May 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good read!

An interesting blend of Buddhism and crime fiction! I truly enjoyed the main character, Tenzing Norbu, and his use of Buddhist practices to aid in solving crime. It was a very thought provoking read.
Angelica Taggart
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-club
I'm not really a 'mystery" person -- but I really enjoyed this book. Our book group read it together, and we really enjoyed the writing style, the humor, the tension and the spirituality that sprinkles the pages.
Looking forward to the next book!
Laurie Saunders
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I liked it, because he's more or less in the same genre as my book (out soon). Knowing Tibetan practices, I wasn't entirely happy with how they were presented, but most people wouldn't find that distracting.
Elena Rynkevic
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I can’t wait to read the next one in this interesting new series about Detective Ten ex monk ex cop in LA!
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Dr. Gay Hendricks has served for more than 30 years as one of the major contributors to the fields of relationship transformation and body-mind therapies. Along with his wife, Dr. Kathlyn Hendricks, Gay is the author of many bestsellers, including Conscious Loving, At the Speed of Life, and Five Wishes.

Gay received his PhD in counseling psychology from Stanford University in 1974. After a 21-year

Other books in the series

Tenzing Norbu Mystery (5 books)
  • The Second Rule of Ten (A Tenzing Norbu Mystery, #2)
  • The Third Rule Of Ten (A Tenzing Norbu Mystery, #3)
  • The Fourth Rule of Ten (A Tenzing Norbu Mystery, #4)
  • The Fifth Rule of Ten (A Tenzing Norbu Mystery, #5)
“There's no such thing as a minor lapse of awareness. You're either present with what is--right here, right now--or you're someplace else.” 16 likes
“Rule Number One is this: If you’re open to learning, you get your life-lessons delivered as gently as the tickle of a feather. But if you’re defensive, if you stubbornly persist in being right instead of learning the lesson at hand, if you stop paying attention to the tickles, the nudges, the clues—boom! Sledgehammer.” 4 likes
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