Naomi Hirahara

Hirahara is the author of the Edgar Award-winning Mas Arai mystery series, which features a Kibei Nisei gardener and atomic-bomb survivor who solves crimes. Her new mystery series with a female hapa bicycle cop was launched in April 2014 with the publication of Murder on Bamboo Lane. The second in the series, Grave on Grand Avenue, is available now. She authored a 12-part serial for Discover Nikkei titled “The Nihongo Papers” and “Baishakunin, Inc.”

Updated June 2015

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Killer Roll

Chapter Six — Pretender

I’m assembling a natto hand roll for a software engineer with Google, when a man in a motorized wheelchair enters Yudai’s Corner. He has a grizzled red beard that looks like strands of saffron and a Giants baseball cap.

“I’m looking for Maki Mitchell,” I hear him announce to our waitress, Carrie. He is already looking my way, so I figure he already knows who I am.

Carrie is giving him the third degree, but I tell her that it’s okay. It’s almost closing time in between lunch and dinner, anyway, and the engineer is ...

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Killer Roll

Chapter Five — Murder Menu

“The first official meeting of Yudai Investigations is called to order,” Yudai says as our fivesome make our way in a residential area of Mountain View. Instead of our typical donburi, Hector has made onigiri with leftovers in the middle. Som has one with a hotdog; Carrie, tofu; Yudai, carnitas; and me, tamagoyaki. Hector himself eats a burrito he has made at home. All of it can be eaten while walking.

Som stuffs his onigiri in his mouth and starts to pass out menus to each of us.

I don’t think that the detective agency work has anything to ...

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Killer Roll

Chapter Four — Maki vs. the BGWAAM

Up to now, I’ve never felt that a group that I belonged to believed in me. When I left for America, my family thought that I would come running back home. That didn’t happen. My classmates thought that I was peculiar, too clever for our fishing village in Wakayama. They predicted that I would end up a hostess girl in the red-light district in Tokyo. That didn’t happen, either.

But as I’m sharing my current troubles to my coworkers at Yudai’s Corner, it occurs to me that I’ve finally found my people. They don ...

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Killer Roll

Chapter Three — Don’t Be a Bakatare

What attracted me to Kurt, you may wonder. It wasn’t that he was particularly good looking. I mean, he was tall, six-three, but he was really thin; at five-six I may have actually weighed the same as he did. But just the fact that he desired me made me desire him back.

The waitress at Yudai’s Corner, Carrie, says this is old-school thinking. Women should not be objects, playthings for men. She’s a gorgeous blonde Stanford student, while I’m of a different generation. And from Japan.

After all he’s put me through—left me without ...

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Killer Roll

Chapter Two — False Identity

The first thing I figure out: that my date, Ray DiPietro, wasn’t quite who he said he was.

Before I can even call in his murder, the police arrives at my workplace, Yudai’s Corner. First it was a couple of plainclothes detectives in an unmarked car. And then five black-and-white squad cars with Santa Clara Sheriff’s Department emblazoned on their side doors.

I begin shaking like a leaf. A woman pulls me aside, shows me some official identification and starts to pat me down while her male partner watches.

“What are you doing? I didn’t kill ...

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