In the foothills of Pasadena, Mas Arai is just another Japanese-American gardener, his lawnmower blades clean and sharp, his truck carefully tuned. But while Mas keeps lawns neatly trimmed, his own life has gone to seed. His wife is dead. And his livelihood is falling into the hands of the men he once hired by the day. For Mas, a life of sin is catching up to him. And now bachi - the spirit of retribution - is knocking on his door.
"A mystery with its roots in WWII"
From the time she was a child, Mas Arai's daughter, Mari, was completely gasa-gasa - never sitting still, always on the go, getting into everything. And Mas, busy tending lawns, gambling, and struggling to put his Hiroshima past behind him, never had much time for the family he was trying to support. For years now his resentful daughter has lived a continent away in New York City and had a life he knew little about.
"Book 2 of the Mas Arai series"
In Strawberry Yellow, he returns to the strawberry farms of his youth and encounters family intrigue, danger, and murder. The series' most compelling and evocative mystery yet is set in the strawberry fields of Watsonville, California, where young Mas first arrived as a Hiroshima survivor in the 1940s. He returns for the funeral of a cousin and quickly gets entangled in the murder of a young woman. Was his cousin murdered, too?
Mas Arai's best friend, Haruo, is getting married, and he has grudgingly agreed to serve as best man. But when an ancient Japanese doll display of Haruo's fiance goes missing, the wedding is called off with fingers pointed at Haruo. To solve the mystery and to save Haruo's life, Mas must untangle a web of secrecy, heartbreaking memories, and murder.
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...