Snakeskin Shamisen

Snakeskin Shamisen

By Naomi Hirahara

Delta, Paperback, 9780385339612, 255pp.

Publication Date: April 25, 2006

From Summer of the Big Bachi to Gasa-Gasa Girl, Naomi Hirahara's acclaimed novels have featured one of mystery fiction's most unique heroes: Mas Arai, a curmudgeonly L.A. gardener, Hiroshima survivor, and inveterate gambler.
Few things get Mas more excited than gambling, so when he hears about a $500,000 win from a novelty slot machine he's torn between admiration and derision. But the stakes are quickly raised when the winner, a friend of Mas's pal G. I. Hasuike, is found stabbed to death just days later. The last thing Mas wants to do is stick his nose in someone else's business, but at G.I.'s prodding he reluctantly agrees to follow the trail of a battered snakeskin shamisen (a traditional Okinawan musical instrument) left at the scene of the crime and suddenly finds himself caught up in a dark mystery that reaches from the islands of Okinawa to the streets of L.A. a world of heartbreaking memories, deception, and murder.

About the Author
Naomi Hirahara is a writer and editor of nonfiction and fiction books on the Japanese American experience. She authored the biography An American Son: The Story of George Aratani, Founder of Mikasa and Kenwood for the Japanese American National Museum. She is a former editor of The Rafu Shimpo, a Japanese American daily newspaper in Los Angeles.

Praise For Snakeskin Shamisen

"Highly enjoyable.... Hirahara's sharp ear for dialogue and keen sense of place mark this as a superior read, but it's her intimate view of the Japanese-American community and her wry portrait of the endearing Mas, with his fondness for gambling and Spam, that really make this series stand out."—Publishers Weekly