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Tag Archives: Naomi Hirahara

Your 2023 Just Desserts hiatus Reading Suggestion – The works of Naomi Hirahara

During our traditional November and December hiatus period when Just Desserts does not meet in person, we usually offer you a suggestion of an author or series for you to try to sample, which you can can post a comment about in our Just Desserts blog. The author we suggest this year is Naomi Hirahara. Hirahara is an American author, born and raised in Southern California, who has written both fiction and non-fiction books, as well has having served as the editor of the largest Japanese-American newspaper in the United States.

Hirahara has written entries in four of her own original mystery series, has contributed short works to other author’s series or anthologies, has written five non-fiction titles, and has one non-mystery standalone novel to her credit. She has won both the Edgar Award and the Mary Higgins Clark Award. Her four series are as follows:

Mas Arai series features elderly Japanese-American gardener Mas Arai as the sleuth (2004-2018): Summer of the Big Bachi (2004), Gasa-Gasa Girl (2005), Snakeskin Shamisen (2006), Blood Hina (2010), Strawberry Yellow (2013), Sayonara Slam (2016), Hiroshima Boy (2018).

Officer Ellie Rush series features L.A. bike cop Ellie Rush, who aspires to become a homicide detective and keeps getting involved in murder cases on her beat (2014-2015): Murder on Bamboo Lane (2014), Grave on Grand Avenue (2015).

Leilani Santiago series – College grad Leilani returns from Seattle to Hawaii to help her MS-diagnosed mother keep the family’s shave ice shack business afloat and gets pulled into mysteries (2019-present): Iced in Paradise (2019), An Eternal Lei (2022).

Japantown Mystery series are set after Aki Ito and her family are released from the Japanese internment camp Manzanar. First book is set in 1944 Chicago, and the second in Southern California in 1946 (2021-present): Clark and Division (2021), Evergreen (2023).

Standalone Non-Mystery Novel: 1001 Cranes (2008).

In the list above, the Lincoln City Libraries currently owns any of the Naomi Hirahara titles that are hotlinked – either in regular print format, audiobook or digital formats. There are a limited number of copies of each title available. Titles not hotlinked are not in the libraries’ collection.

Just Desserts members wishing to participate in this hiatus reading activity are encouraged to read ANY one or more of the novels listed by Naomi Hirahara. and then return to leave a comment on this hiatus discussion post in the Just Desserts blog any time in either November or December.

This link goes to the Naomi Hirahara page on, where you can link to the plot descriptions of each book in her various series.

This link goes to the official Naomi Hirhara website.

Your question: Which Naomi Hirahara novel(s) did you read, and what was your opinion?