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Down and Out in Kathmandu

(Zelda Richardson Mystery #0)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  96 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Librarian's Note: This is an Alternate Cover Edition for ISBN10: 151936590X ISBN13: 9781519365903.

Zelda wants to teach children English and “find herself” in Kathmandu. Ian wants to get stoned and trek the Himalayas. Tommy wants to get rich by smuggling diamonds. How their stories collide will leave you on the edge of your seat!

Travel from the dusty, tout-filled streets an
Paperback, 226 pages
Published July 28th 2016 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (first published December 22nd 2015)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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 ·  96 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The blurb describes this book as an adventure by Zelda Richardson, a volunteer teacher in Nepal. She is not trained as a teacher, having quit her job in a computer company in Seattle. The book is told from the perspective of 3 people, Zelda, Ian, an Australian who has come to Nepal to use recreational drugs, and Tommy, a Canadian who smuggles diamonds.
Pros-- The author clearly has spent time in Nepal, describing in vivid detail the sights, sounds and smells unfamiliar to an American.
J. Schlenker
Apr 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fast paced and an easy read, and hard to put down. There were three main characters, Zelda, Ian and Tommy. I could relate to Zelda on a few different levels, her unpreparedness and not having too much of a clue. And, also the teacher part (have substituted and tutored) and taking off to a foreign country on her own. Have also done that, although, not Nepal. Still she managed to survive and I believe is wiser for the experience.

Ian - you have to have the rugged, handsome Australian trekker with
Janice Richardson
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed-rated
Wow. What a ride.
It isn't every day you find a book that keeps you up late and is hard to put down. Down and Out in Kathmandu was such a book.
We were all there once, young, idealistic and self-centered. Zelda, Ian, Tommy - looking for adventure and meaning, finally realizing that they were responsible for their own actions and happiness.
The story builds slowly, teasing you until the final chapters. I was holding my breath.
Definitely a 5 star read.

Jennifer S. Alderson
Loosely based on my own experiences traveling around Southeast Asia, Down and Out in Kathmandu is meant to be a somewhat silly, slightly cynical, travel adventure story. It offers a peek into the backpacker culture of Nepal and Thailand, and insight into what life can be like for a Westerner volunteering in a developing country. What do you think, did I succeed?
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't sure at first, whether the characters were likable enough to keep me reading. But as I got to know Zelda, who is hopelessly unprepared and naive to be taking a teaching job in Nepal, I found her sympathetic. Ian, an Australian teacher taking time off to come to Nepal for the best dope, doesn't seem like the best person to learn from. And Tommy, the friendless creep, who has gotten himself in deep with the gangster who moves drugs and cash between Thailand and Nepal, is pretty hard to ca ...more
Joanna Kafarowski
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Zelda Richardson is burnt out and over-worked and decides to follow a dream and travel to Kathmandu, Nepal. She is giddy with excitement at the prospect of making a difference in the world by volunteering at a local school and living with a Nepali family. She wants to fully immerse herself in this vibrant culture. But she is brought down to earth with a bump as the gritty realities of Kathmandu life do not meet her rosy expectations. An on-again, off-again romance with a mysterious and rugged Au ...more
Dec 28, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reviewed for Mystery Thriller Week 2017

The Book
Zelda Richardson has hit that point in her life where it just doesn’t feel…right. Her job is not bringing her any fulfillment and she feels like she’s wasting her life and missing out on potentially incredible experiences while stuck behind her desk. Taking the decision to quit and sign up for a volunteer program teaching kids in Kathmandu, Nepal may not have been the easiest thing to do, but she’s going to make a go of it, even if it kills her. Mee
Actual rating is probably 4.75 stars. The missing quarter star is for the few quirks I describe below. However, for the sake of the Goodreads rating system I'm giving this book 5 recorded stars

Wow, this was a really fun book to read. It made me want to dig out an old backpack from storage and hit the road for a month long trek to "nowhere". Ok, maybe life itself sends me fantasizing about this scenario without the help of the book BUT it still was a fun read. I've traveled all over Europe but h
Pamela Allegretto
Sep 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Zelda Richardson ditches her secure computer-programming job in Seattle and heads to Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, to work as a volunteer English teacher, in what turns out to be an undisciplined, free-for-all classroom. Nevertheless, this somewhat naïve but gutsy young woman is determined not to allow this country and its 25-plus million people get the better of her, even as her preconceived romanticized notions are quickly squelched. However, it’s not only the country she collides wit ...more
Robert Krenzel
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Down and Out in Kathmandu takes the reader not only to Nepal, but also into the minds of self-centered twenty-somethings as they fumble their way toward self-discovery and perhaps a little bit of wisdom.

The author brings Nepal to life. The descriptive detail leaves no doubt that she has been there and done that, and the vivid prose takes the reader along for the ride.

The characters are brilliantly conceived. They are not necessarily likable, but they are very real. Their many flaws make them al
one of several books I tried out with a view toward trying out authors new to me...this one is not for me
Novel set in Nepal and Thailand (“a silly carefree tourist”)

This review first appeared on our blog:

Three strong characters appear in this novel, Zelda, Ian and Tommy. How their paths cross is part of the storyline’s progression and the reader is kept guessing until the end.

Zelda is from Canada, has stepped off the work treadmill for a while, and opted to join a charitable scheme for a few weeks based in Nepal, teaching local children. Her accommodation is
Elizabeth Lloyd
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Down and Out in Kathmandu" is the first adventure of Zelda Richardson. I came to it having already met the determined Zelda on her second adventure in "The Lover’s Portrait." In this earlier story, Zelda has just left her secure IT job in Seattle to volunteer as an English teacher near Kathmandu for 3 months. Nepal proves to be a culture shock and the work a hard task for a young woman with no teaching experience or training. She must live with a Nepali family who live a more western life than ...more
Jacqueline (Fall In Love With The Sound of Words)
This book has been on my radar for some time when I came across it in a Goodreads giveaway. I was fortunate enough to come across it again during the Mystery Thriller Week. Needless to say, I was pretty damn excited to be able to reach out to the author and read her novel.
I am an avid adventurer! I love everything about going out and traveling the world, getting lost and finding yourself. I was totally jealous of Zelda Richardson’s ability to leave everything behind and start an adventure. I can
Melissa Burovac
Dec 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I initially took to be a story about a traveler teaching English in Nepal turned out to be a thriller with a gang of diamond smugglers and intrigue.
I loved the detail of Kathmandu and Thailand, the main characters, the families and the villains. I would have liked to hear more about the children she taught, but I could feel her humiliation as a teacher.
Full of confidence as she began her trip, Zelda goes back and forth between that and complete self-doubt, depending on what situation she f
Sep 13, 2019 rated it liked it
I had to check the genre tags a few times while listening to this book. This wasn't a mystery, there was nothing mysterious going on. Nothing to unravel. 80% of the book was Zelda complaining about the volunteer teaching situation she was in and the people she was surrounded by and Ian smoking up. The only suspenseful piece was at the very end of the book and that lasted a few pages.

This book was more a journey of a couple people in a poor foreign country for a couple months who talk about thei
Lucia Davis
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Zelda leaves Seattle for Nepal...and that's where it starts. This books pulls you in slowly, but keeps a good hold. Nepal's descriptions are fascinating, and definitely go far beyond the experiences of the casual visitor. Zelda seems a bit naive as a traveler, especially in the beginning, but it made me admire her courage even more, to experience a country like Nepal by immersing herself in the Nepalese culture, teaching English, and learning Nepali. The book doesn't shy away from the misunderst ...more
Sandra McKenna
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent read.

A well written and unputdownable read set in Nepal and Thailand.
Zelda is in Nepal as a volunteer teacher with no experience, Ian is an Aussie teacher come hippie on a backpacking holiday , and would-be man of the world, Tommy is looking for adventure in Thailand. The three innocently become embroiled in some rather nerve wracking escapades along the way.
Brilliantly written and nail biting at times; I thoroughly enjoyed this book and cannot recommend it highly enough.
M.P. Tonnesen
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
What an adventurous ride!
Gorgeous descriptions of exotic settings make this exciting tale of Zelda's adventures come alive.
I loved joining the ups and downs of travelling and volunteering in Nepal, vividly told through the three very different stories of dubious Canadian Tommy, laid-back Australian Ian, and of course, spirited American Zelda.
A great read for globetrotters and armchair travellers alike!
Andrew Cairns
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read. After about twenty pages or so, you find yourself immersed in the sights, smells, sounds, and squalor of Kathmandu - following the adventures of the two main characters, Zelda and Ian. From then on, it's a real page-turner / screen-swiper as the thrills unfold. Part travelogue, part thriller, and part voyage of self-discovery - the book works well in all these genres. I would have liked to have found out a bit more about the various beliefs and practices of people in Nepal, which are ...more
Dora Ilieva
Dec 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Down and Out in Kathmandu: a Backpacker Mystery by Jennifer S. Alderson is the funny and exciting story of Zelda Richardson, a young American who, fed up with her all-consuming Seattle job, signs up as a volunteer teacher in Nepal. With empathy and realism, the author describes the daily struggles and frequent disappointments of the naïve, pure-hearted young woman. The book offers vivid descriptions of the Nepalese capital and intriguing insights into the culture and customs of the local populat ...more
251 Things To Do
Down and Out Kathmandu includes adventurous tall tales of the virgin backpacker. Along the way, the protagonist. meets Ian the seductive Australian, and Tommy the twit. Nepal and Thailand are the highlighted countries where the author divulges cultural content and life lessons from her experiences. Nothing is as she expects…which is why traveling is so awesome, always full of surprises, especially when it’s done blindly.

An excellent novel full of travel stories for the new or current backpacker
Emma Debruyne
I would love to travel but unfortunatly I do not have the money for it. That is one of the reasons why I love to read, it's my way to travel. This week I went to Kathmandu for 3 months to volunteer at a Nepalese school, I've met an Australian guy and escaped the whrath of a diamond smuggler. Quite an eventfull trip but I loved it!
Isa (Bookishlifetime)
I can't wait to read this book! It might have to wait untill I am finisched with my tbr-shelf but I will tro to read it as soon as possible! Thank you for the possibility to win this book!
Nix Buttons
I started reading this book but couldn't continue for a few weeks and have to read it again from the start.
( Format : Audiobook )
"money seemed to be the most worshipped... "
Love the cover.
In the review of her own story, author Jennifer Alderson describes her book, Down and Out in Kathmandu, as, 'a somewhat silly, slightly cynical, travel adventure story,' and wonders if she has succeeded in providing the reader with this. Absolutely! Two twenty somethings meet in the visa queue at the airport to enter Nepal, neither having had the foresight to equip themselves with one before travelling. Zelda, from
Amy Shannon
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Charming & Adventurous

There's something to be said about reading the dedication of a book. It gives insight behind the writer, and sometimes there is that inkling of who the author is, behind their words, their characters. This is the second book of Alderson's that I've read, and I love this one, too. Adventures in Backpacking to say the least. I love Zelda. She's one of those characters that just stand out because she is relatable. Who doesn't want to escape from burnout, grab a backpack and le
Aliya DalRae
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Colorful descriptions made me feel like I was there

Down and Out in Kathmandu is an exciting journey following three main characters, Zelda, Ian and Tommy. The characters and their journeys couldn’t be any more diverse. While they are each on a path toward “finding themselves”, one wonders how their worlds could possibly collide, and yet Alderson brings them together in a manner that will have your heart racing. However, the thing I enjoyed most about this book were the descriptions. Told in such
Dec 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thailand, nepal
Incredibly detailed trip through Nepal

I had hoped this novel was of the suspense, mystery or crime genre. It IS an Adventure. Truthfully, it does have crime as part of the plot: dishonesty, smuggling and exploitation. But it is really about 3 distinctly different individuals wanting to experience Nepal and gets way more than expected. Ian: a teacher in sabbatical who wants to live like a stone's hippie, Zelda is to "teach" English and Tommy who just wants to make fast cash. All find themselves
Tempeste Blake
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
My second read by this author and I enjoyed it as much as the first. The characters were fully formed and their motivations were clear. I can’t say I always liked them. Zelda in particular could be surprisingly bitter and judgmental, and there were times I wanted to give her a solid smack, but that to me is good story telling. When a character seems so real you want to interact with them. Ian, the charming Australian party boy, provided a good counterpoint to Zelda. Though the mystery/thriller a ...more
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Hi! I am an American expat currently living in Amsterdam. After traveling extensively around Asia, Oceania, and Central America, I moved to Darwin, Australia, before finally settling in the Netherlands. When not writing, you can find me in a museum, biking around Amsterdam, or enjoying a coffee along the canal while planning my next research trip.

My love of travel, art, and culture inspires my awa

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Zelda Richardson Mystery (4 books)
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  • Rituals of the Dead (Zelda Richardson Mystery #2)
  • Marked for Revenge (Zelda Richardson Mystery #3)
  • The Vermeer Deception (Zelda Richardson Mystery #4)

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