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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Death of a Zen Master is a murder mystery novel written by Cornelia Feye. Greg Stern was doing penance for a brief affair by submitting to a two-week stay at a zen monastery in a remote location. Said sentence was imposed upon him by his wife, Vega, as the condition for her remaining with him. Greg knew his dalliance was nothing more than that, but he realized that Vega was worth suffering through the early wake-up runners who announced the day’s start with a clamorous ringing of bells, the cold and primitive cabins, and the endless hours of meditation in the most uncomfortable positions ever devised by man. As the students gathered in the meditation hall, however, the hush was broken by sounds of despair, fear, and sorrow. Greg had been in law enforcement in the past and was now the head of his own private security company. He knew death when he saw it, and he was determined to find out who among the students at the monastery was responsible for the Zen Master’s death.
Cornelia Feye’s Death of a Zen Master is a well-written and absorbing story that harkens back to the classic murder mystery novels such as those penned by Agatha Christie. I loved the isolated setting for the crime and relished seeing the fear and suspicion of the students as they realize they are trapped with a killer, with no way out and no way to contact the outside world. Feye’s characters are finely crafted and true-to-life and her plot is ingenious. She gives the armchair sleuth plenty of red herrings to consider along with Greg Stern, as he tries to unmask the killer and stay alive. This classy, modern-day homage to the golden age of murder mysteries is most highly recommended.