ナオミ・ヒラハラ

(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 Eleven—Making Connections

“Here, drink.”

Sachi’s hands were shaking. She was afraid that she would drop the water bottle and splash all over the paramedics’ blanket wrapped around her. But she was grateful to get some liquid in her to remove the taste of vomit from her mouth.

Of all people to come to her side, Jag Griffin was the last person she expected. Yet here he was, his hair a bit in disarray, a smashed shag rug.

She took a swig and then spit out the water onto the floor of the parking lot, almost wetting Jag’s expensive wingtips. “Sorry ...

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Death of an Origamist

Chapter Ten—The Innocents

Surprisingly, after learning that her flirtatious relationship with Kenji the bodyguard was based on secrets and lies, Sachi felt liberated. She hadn’t even considered any kind of romance after her husband Scott had died, but here her heart and body had been willing and open. She just felt thankful that she learned the truth before she had gotten in deeper. She was still standing. And alive.

From the hotel’s penthouse level, she took the elevator down to her room and got ready to leave. Normally she would take care to roll her clothing in tight, neat bundles to ...

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Death of an Origamist

Chapter Nine—Better Than She Seems

The two Orange County detectives then left Sachi’s hotel room, taking Kenji the bodyguard with them. “We want to ask you more questions,” Detective Flanagan told Kenji. “We want a minute-by-minute account of what you were doing while you were away from Mr. Buck the evening he died.”

Well, at least 27 or so of those minutes were with me at the hotel bar, thought Sachi. If only she could be transported back to that time when her biggest concern was making a mistake on an origami project. Kenji nodded his goodbye. “I’ll call you when this is ...

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Nanka Nikkei Voices

The Alan Hotel

For journalists, there are stories, perhaps only a handful, that never leave you. That’s the way I feel about the Alan Hotel in Little Tokyo.

It was almost a lifetime away, in 1986, when I was a foot soldier, or more officially a reporter, for The Rafu Shimpo Japanese American daily newspaper. I wore my long hair wild in perm, with bangs cut short so I could see. Seeing was important for a reporter—and what I was about to witness I could not believe.

In the mid-1980s, Little Tokyo was on the edge of being flattened and transformed ...

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Death of an Origamist

Chapter Eight—Personal Matters

Jag Griffin sputtered like a malfunctioning garden hose. “Old lady, are you saying that I killed Craig Buck? You seemed incompetent before, but now I see that you’re delusional.” There were several of them in the hotel lobby, facing the two Orange County detectives.

Jag continued to unleash a slew of insults Sachi’s way, but the one that stung was his first one. Old lady. Sachi was 61 years and seven months old. Yes, almost eligible for Social Security, but certainly not an old lady.

“She’s right.” Kenji stepped in. Sachi couldn’t help but to notice ...

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