Blood Hina: A Mas Arai Mystery by Naomi Hirahara
Every time I close a Mas Arai mystery (this is my third – I know, I need to catch up), and in spite of the sometimes gruesome body count, I have to admit I miss the crotchety old man with his Japanese phrases mixed in with his oddly accented “orai“s (for ‘all right,’ as far as I can tell). I can just about see his schlumpy Japanese American gardener facade, hear his somewhat annoyed voice, but always feel his heart of gold – even though he tries his best to hide it with his monku, monku, monku (gripes and whinge-ing).
In his latest incarnation, Mas has to play best man at his best friend Haruo’s second wedding. He can’t understand why his contemporary oldsters want to make such a fuss at their age, but he’ll go along because he has to. But when the wedding is suddenly called off the night before, and his best friend is accused of stealing his fiancée’s family’s traditional Japanese dolls (the hina from the title – check out that blood-splattered cover!), Mas certainly can’t just sit by eating ramen while Haruo’s about to fall into the deep end.
Mas knows Haruo is innocent – their pasts intertwine all the way back to Hiroshima. He’s not so sure about Haruo’s supposed-to-become-stepdaughter, Dee, who’s been fighting drug addiction much of her adult life. She definitely hasn’t let go of her late father’s memory, he who died mysteriously decades ago but has since been sanctified by his surviving family.
Mas not only has thieves and murderers, gamblers and addicts to deal with, but he just might be up against some pretty powerful ghosts, as well … Have to be careful not to give too much away!
The 2007 Edgar Award-winning Naomi Hirahara spins another page-turning mystery, all the while endearing readers to our favorite curmudgeon gardener… plus you gotta love the poetic justice of acerbic old Mas possibly falling in love this late in life. Stay tuned …