Strawberry Yellow: A Mas Arai Mystery by Naomi Hirahara: Book Review/Giveaway/Event

Mar 9, 2013 | 2013 Articles, Marilyn Meredith, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Marilyn Meredith

Naomi will be signing copies of Strawberry Yellow at Mysterious Galaxy’s Redondo Beach store-2810 Artesia Blvd., Redondo Beach, California, on March 15 at 12:30 p.m. At the end of this post is a link to purchase a copy of the book from Mysterious Galaxy if you can’t be at the signing. If you order before the event you can ask for a signed copy. There are also instructions at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Strawberry Yellow.

I am a big fan of Naomi Hirahara’s writing for many reasons. She is able to bring to life a wonderful unassuming hero in Mas Arai. Reading her books immerses the reader in the richness of a bit of Japanese culture. She always brings to life a setting that is probably new to most—in Strawberry Yellow, Watsonville, California, and the strawberry industry.

Through the series, Naomi has told us much about Mas Arai, a survivor of Hiroshima, a gardener (now retired), widower, father, grandfather, and a reluctant detective. In the latest in this series, we learn that Mas landed in Watsonville in the 1940s when he first arrived in the U.S. from Hiroshima.

When Mas returns to Watsonville to attend the funeral of a cousin, he is almost immediately caught up in the murder of a young woman. Much of the mystery is connected to an old house that Mas lived in years ago and is now abandoned, and the quest to find a strawberry that is resistant to the disease of strawberry yellow. It isn’t long before Mas realizes that his cousin might have been murdered too. His investigation brings up old memories, his and others’, and puts his own life in jeopardy.

Having lived in Oxnard, CA for many years, another town famous for its strawberries, I loved learning tantalizing bits about the growing of this popular fruit. We had Japanese neighbors who had been taken from their homes and put into camps during World War II like some of Mas’s relatives experienced.

Of course, following along with Mas as he puts the pieces of the puzzle together to solve the mysteries he encounters is the highlight of Strawberry Yellow.

I so enjoy Mas and the way he thinks—the author has created a wonderful character. I loved this book and recommend it to anyone who’d likes to read a good mystery with a unique setting and a peek into a culture most of us know nothing about.

To enter to win a copy of Strawberry Yellow, simply email KRL at life@kingsriverlife[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Yellow,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 16, 2013. U.S. residents only.

Use this link to purchase Strawberry Yellow & you help an indie bookstore & KRL:

Marilyn Meredith is a Springville, CA mystery author and an ongoing contributor to our Mystery section. Be sure to visit her website;


  1. I love a good mystery, and this one looks to be different from the usual whodunnit. The tie in to biology and the area’s history has me curious…

  2. interesting title and cover

  3. Thanks for this amazing giveaway! This book sounds great and I would love to win it!

    susanw28 (at) mindspring (dot) com

  4. We have a winner
    Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher


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