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 Eight — Try Tamago

I wait for Crowe to threaten to publicly expose my lies. I picture being kicked out of the dorm and being on the front page of the Stanford Daily: middle-aged Japanese sushi chef impersonating a graduate student. 

Anago feast,” he says, sharpening his kitchen knife with a steel rod.

“Excuse me?” I find a wire-mesh strainer and pour my broth into a plastic container. I’ll use the dashi for another purpose.

“You mean that you prepared an anago feast for another customer besides me?”

I blink and focus on his hazel eyes. The hair is different but the face ...

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Killer Roll

Chapter Seven — The Magic of Kitchen

The condo itself is one of those nondescript kinds all along Embarcadero in Palo Alto. It’s part of a larger complex with probably at least fifty units. My ex-husband’s condo is way in the back and I stand there waiting for his lawyer, Jordan Phelps.

With everything that has happened, I know that it’s quite dangerous for me to be out there, in plain sight. But I’m tired of being scared and ashamed about my past. Ever since my customer—well, I guess date—was killed and then my ex-husband, I’ve been questioned countless times ...

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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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