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 Six—The Other Woman

Sachi was always a bit intimidated by beautiful women, especially Asian ones. She herself ranked about a 5 in appearance, maybe a 6 when she was in her late twenties and playing in a volleyball league. She had daikon ashi, white radish-shaped legs that were good for squatting to set a ball, but not so good in jeans—either skinny or bell bottoms.

Olivia was definitely in the realm of a 10. Or maybe even more. She must have been in her forties, but her skin was absolutely flawless—not a stray freckle or age spot in sight. Her long ...

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Death of an Origamist

Chapter Five—Chicken McNuggets Confidential

Sachi Yamane didn’t know what it was like to be fired. She had snagged her job at Los Angeles County General Hospital after she had finished nursing school. That had been almost forty years ago and she had stayed in its ER ever since.

For Kenji the bodyguard to be fired in front of her was uncomfortable. Disturbing even, because she somehow felt responsible.

She got up from one of the penthouse overstuffed chairs and followed him out the double doors into the hotel hallway.

“I’m so sorry,” she said, pulling at the hem of her silly little ...

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Death of an Origamist

Chapter Four—The Inner Circle

T-Rex, also known as Craig Buck, was dead. Sachi Yamane felt like she was going to collapse right there at the banquet table in front of their Star Wars origami centerpiece. How could that be? She had just spent an hour with the master origamist in his exclusive class in the hotel penthouse that same afternoon.

The whole banquet hall was atwitter with the announcement. It wasn’t an official announcement by the Left Coast Origami Convention organizer, Charles, but his 12-year-old origami savant son, Taku.

“Didn’t you see Mr. Buck today?” asked a woman seated across from Sachi ...

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Death of an Origamist

Chapter Three—Little Black Dress

“Well, how was T-Rex’s class?” Barbara Lu, Sachi Yamane’s roommate at the convention hotel, asked. Seated at the desk by the window, Barbara was folding one of her trademark origami otters.

“Okay,” Sachi said, again trying to stay positive. She placed her convention bag and purse on her double bed which housekeeping had neatly restored to its original immaculate state.

“Well, let me see it.” Barbara stood up.

“What?”

“You know, what T-Rex had you make in his special seminar.” Barbara’s voice was still tinged with envy. She wasn’t a type of woman who could mask ...

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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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