By Brian Dunlap
Pasadena Native Naomi Hirahara and L.A. native Walter Mosley have both been nominated for a 2019 Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original, Hiroshima Boy, and Best Novel, Down The River Unto The Sea, respectively. For Hirahara it’s her second Edgar Award nomination, her first being for Snakeskin Shamisen, which won the 2007 Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original. Mosely has been nominated twice before for Best Novel, in 1993 for White Butterfly and in 2013 for All I did Was Shoot My Man and was nominated for Best First Novel in 1991 for Devil in a Blue Dress.
The 2019 Edgar Awards banquet will be held in New York in late April hosted by the Mystery Writers of America, sponsors of these Oscars for the crime-writing world. The comparison is apt as the Edgar’s are widely acknowledged to be the most prestigious awards in the genre. The Mystery Writers of American hand out 14 Edgar Awards each year for excellence in mystery writing for: Best Novel, Best First Novel, Best Original Paperback, Best Fact Crime, Best Critical/Biographical, Best Short Story, Best Juvenile, Young Adult, TV Episode Teleplay, Robert L. Fish Memorial Award, Mary Higgins Clark Award, Grand Master, Raven Award and Ellery Queen Award.
Hirahara’s Hiroshima Boy is the seventh and final book in the Mas Arai mystery series about a Japanese American gardener, Mas Arai, living in Los Ángeles. This final entry in the series has Arai returning to Hiroshima to bring his best friend’s ashes to a relative on the tiny offshore island of Ino, only to become embroiled in the mysterious death of a teenage boy who was about the same age Mas was when he survived the atomic bomb in 1945. The boy’s death affects the elderly, often-curmudgeonly, always-reluctant sleuth, who cannot return home to Los Angeles until he finds a way to see justice served.
Mosley’s Down The River Unto The Sea is about a former NYPD cop once imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. He must solve two cases: that of a man wrongly condemned to die, and his own. “Joe King Oliver was one of the NYPD’s finest investigators, until, dispatched to arrest a well-heeled car thief, he is framed for assault by his enemies within the NYPD, a charge which lands him in solitary at Rikers Island,” reads the book’s jacket copy.
Congratulations to both Pasadena native Naomi Hirahara and L.A. native Walter Mosley on their Edgar Award nominations. The banquet will take place April 25, 2019 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City.