Zen Attitude, by Sujata Massey, is a Japanese themed “mystery”. And why do I say that? Because the actual detecting doesn’t start until chapter 17. And there are only 27 chapters. So what do they do with those unused 17 chapters? Well, establish a plot, of course. But it’s mostly romantic troubles. Not my favorite thing, and by chapter 10 I started getting tired of the heroine’s whining. But thrilling adventures were on the way! Her boyfriend’s brother, a shady guy, messed up the whole dinner party at her apartment with the ol’ drugs in the brownie trick. Clever, ne? (ne appears to be the Japanese word for huh. I’m not really sure, but they used it a lot in the book. According to a japanese dictionary: Ne: sounds like Neh. It can mean “right?” or “isn’t it?” or “hey!”) I don’t exactly like this book, but I thought it was good enough not to have a fully exposed anti-drug message. I hate drugs as much as anyone, but seriously?
The plot in Zen Attitude is simple…ish. The main character aquires a overpriced wooden chest for a client, than finds it a fake. Then the person who sold it to her gets murdered. You’d think the detecting would start here, but then you’d be wrong. Then there are romantic mishaps aplenty and the person the murderee got the fake chest from is also murdered. Our heroine thinks long and hard until she realizes: “Oh! These murders must be linked!” Wow. Hard thing to figure out, ne? Then she survives an attempt to kill her, figures out something else (The fake chest person was related to her client), and finds a rare scroll in her worthless chest. Thrilling. Then she gets kidnapped, escapes, and solves the mystery. It’s actionpacked! It’s got romance! It’s… The most interesting book in the world!*
The characters in Zen Attitude are real enough. But maybe too real. They seem a bit whiny to me, and I’m inclined to agree with the heroine’s boyfriend, who dumps her. They don’t really have layers. This is nothing like Agatha Christie.
Zen Attitude is an okay book, but it’s not much of a mystery. I was looking for a book that would rival Agatha. This is not it. I don’t feel inclined to keep reading the series.
*It’s not actually the most interesting book in the world.