Naomi Hirahara

Naomi 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, Officer Ellie Rush series, and now the new Leilani Santiago mysteries. A former editor of The Rafu Shimpo, she has written a number of nonfiction books on the Japanese American experience and several 12-part serials for Discover Nikkei.

Updated October 2019

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Death of an Origamist

Chapter Two—Doctor Death

“So what we will be folding is…”

Sachi felt her heart pound hard. Was her lanyard ID badge over her chest moving up and down, too? What was Craig “T-Rex” Buck, the 21st century master of origami, going to have them fold?

The mood around the polished wood table was indeed emotional. They were supposed to be the elite folders at this Left Coast Origami Convention in Anaheim.

Holly West, known for her nimble hands, rubbed her fingertips together. Sachi figured Jag Griffin, part of Buck’s entourage, would have received some insider information, but he was squeezing a napkin ...

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Death of an Origamist

Chapter One—Que Sera, Sera

For the past three days, Sachi Yamane was in heaven. Origami heaven, that is. Not only was she immersed in her most favorite pastime—folding square pieces of paper into three-dimensional sculptures, but she also was away from her everyday life of tending to gunshot wounds, battered women, and sick babies. She loved—well, used to love her work as an emergency room nurse—but lately, especially after the untimely passing of coworkers (from the stress, everyone presumed), she was just counting the days to her retirement at age sixty-two. She was still 117 days away.

In the meantime, she ...

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Nikkei Detective

Chapter Twelve—Keep on Shining

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We talk about bullying as if it’s a 21st century phenomenon. Boys bullying girls and boys who don’t fit in, the mean skinny girls bullying the dorky fat girls, and it goes on and on. But old farts like me know that unfortunately bullying is nothing new. It’s been around since the beginning of time and it was definitely part of my life in the Seventies.

In Orange County, I created a persona. I was the Hawaiian surfer dude with the puka shells who was always ready to party. It didn’t matter that ...

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Nikkei Detective

Chapter Eleven—True Confessions

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We’re in my LAPD pal’s black-and-white. Officer Doug Brenner makes me sit in the back seat—it’s protocol—like I’m a common criminal, and unfortunately this isn’t the first time for me. You see, I’ve been under arrest in the past, but now I’m a concerned father. My 14-year-old daughter Maddy is missing and I’m going out of my mind trying to find her.

At least Doug has the siren on at full force as we speed down Wilshire Boulevard towards Hancock Park. Certainly beats the bus, which has ...

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Nikkei Detective

Chapter Ten—Following the Doc Martens

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Some people, when faced with a crisis, go ballistic. They run around, their faces red and their voices bellowing. Others get stone cold. I’m in the latter category, which I guess is a good thing because I’m a PI. And right now on one of the hottest days in summer in Los Angeles, I’m freezing as if I was dropped in the middle of Antarctica.

My infuriating, Doc Martens-donning goth daughter, fourteen years old, is missing. And she’s without her cell phone, the anchor of any teenager—heck, any person these days. Maddy ...

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