I appreciate the mystery genre has dozens of sub genres with sleuths whose expertise, as well as solving murders, include operating bake shops, book stores, and thrift shops just to name a few. For some the setting is equally as important as the detective with an incredible amount of murders taking place in quaint British villages, on cruise ships and in exotic locales. Still others feature cats or dogs that partner with their owners in solving the crime, and some even get help from gumshoe ghosts.
So I was receptive to Yoga for Detectives: Interconnected by A. E. Prero, whose protagonist practices yoga and is the owner of a yoga school in Manhattan, as well as an amateur detective.
The term suspension of disbelief has been defined as “a willingness to suspend one’s critical faculties and believe the unbelievable; sacrifice of realism and logic for the sake of enjoyment.”
I have to admit I’m a bit of a fanatic when it comes to suspension of disbelief in any type of novel. As soon as I have one of those moments where something illogical happens that belies common sense or the protagonist does something totally out of character the story’s credibility becomes compromised. When the story is compromised so is my appreciation and enjoyment of it.
In Yoga for Detectives: Interconnected this began right away. I had pause with the way Jaya, the protagonist and a practitioner of a discipline that’s leads to self-discovery, self-mastery and self-realization, responded to her stepmother with insults, profanity and intense anger.
After beginning with the stepmother incident the real story starts when Maria, described as a friend, approaches Jaya and tells her that her brother in Lima, Peru has gone missing after finding something while cleaning out his grandmother’s apartment after her death.
On the strength of that Ansui, the yoga master at Jaya’s school immediately boards a jet and flies there. The next day Jaya receives an email from Ansui telling her to round up her crew and catch a flight to New Delhi.
Incredibly, Jaya agrees and not only that, she decides to take some young teens and their grandmother along as well. The fact the children would likely be an impediment to the investigation and might even be in danger is briefly discussed and summarily dismissed.
I can’t help but wonder who is picking up the tab to search for a young man his own sister describes as ” a troublemaker”, “unreliable”, “no stranger to the police” and “in and out of their offices many times”, but more to the point, why are they committed to look for him?
The why is provided by Ansui once the decision to fly everyone to Delhi has been made, which is kind backwards if you ask me – motivation usually prompts action rather than the opposite.
Ansui provides a recording that suggests St. Francis, yes, that St. Francis, is responsible for some dire deed that happened over four hundred and fifty years ago, though no evidence whatsoever is provided.
Why, this reader wondered, would Miguel, who is certainly not a religious scholar and maybe not even religious, not an archeologist, indeed he is the only one of his siblings “not to go to university”, take an interest in something that happened nearly a half century ago? Why indeed would anyone other than perhaps some academic who specializes in the field?
At this point the plot has lost all credibility and I’m only about five percent into the story.
I persevere to the end of the book but, this question, the crux of the plot, is never answered to my satisfaction and the solution to the “mystery”, seems irrelevant.
Prero’s characters are extremely fond of using wise sayings, adages, aphorisms, parables, riddles, axioms or whatever you want to call them. Everyone from the Yoga master to the cab driver to the children use them and for every situation. Subsequently they have no significance. Since real people don’t talk that way, at least none that I’ve met, it hurt her characterization.
The author interjects words and entire passages in foreign languages. I for one could not understand them, but not to worry since she usually translated them in the next paragraph. What that is about I have no idea except perhaps it’s the author trying to
Much of the book doesn’t advance plot or develop character, instead it is a history lesson, travelogue and a food guide. For example I would guess more than half the chapters include a meal with the menu items explained in some detail. I suppose this this could appeal to some readers but I would suggest substantial editing could have been done in these three areas.
The writing randomly jumps from one character’s point of view to another’s and even frequently uses third person omniscient. There’s no rule against doing this except it’s confusing for the reader and a bit of a cop out as a writer. There are also frequent dumps of unmotivated backstory as well as character description.
I never did understand the relationships between Jaya, Daniel, Rose, Tal, Arielle and Yardin. I imagine all these characters were all introduced in the previous novel, Yoga for Detectives Lesson One, but it might be a good idea for Prero to consider not every reader is going to read every one of her novels and if they do, maybe not in the order they were released so these relationships need to be explained in every book.
For this reader Yoga for Detectives: Interconnected was more disconnected than interconnected.
Amazon Author Page: https:www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU