Minotaur, Mar 2 2010, $24.99
In Los Angeles septuagenarian Japanese-American gardener Mas Arai is unhappy that his friend fellow Hiroshima survivor Haruo Mukai drafts him as his best man in his marriage to Sumako Hayakawa. The wedding rehearsal is obvious a forerunner of things to occur as that proves a disaster. Soon afterward her family accuses Haruo of stealing two ancient Japanese Girls’ Days hina dolls from them. Besides the theft the purification rite the dolls represent is tainted so Sumako ends the engagement.
Although he hopes otherwise Mas fears Haruo stole the family heirlooms to pay off his latest gambling debt as his friend is a betting addict. Mas investigates the theft by tracing the dolls’ trail, which takes him to drug dealers making him fear his friend is guilty and homicides; several of which occurred decades ago, making him believe his friend is not.
The latest Mas mystery (see Snakeskin Shamisen) is once again a wonderful amateur who-done-it that enables the reader to see deeply into the Japanese-American lifestyle. The story line is fast-paced as fans will enjoy accompanying Mas as he follows the clues of the dolls past and present through the Great Los Angeles area.