Mas is a U.S.-born A-bomb survivor who after returning to his ancestral country of Japan then returns to Altadena, where he is forced to revisit his often painful past – and solve a few murders on the side. He was introduced to the literary world with “Summer of the Big Bachi” in 2004, Hirahara’s first published foray into fiction. The Edgar prize was very affirming, said Hirahara, 45, who was born here and raised in Altadena and South Pasadena. Six non-fiction books and three novels later, the former newspaper editor is stretching her wings in many fictional directions. Her young-adult book “1001 Cranes” is due out in summer 2008, and she has three short stories in noir anthologies out this year and next. An international relations major at Stanford University, Hirahara originally considered a career in law, before recognizing that she did not care for confrontation. PASADENA – The atomic bomb was detonated above Hiroshima, Japan, in August 1945. In local author Naomi Hirahara’s novels, its effects still course through the contemporary world of the West San Gabriel Valley. Set more or less in the present, Hirahara’s Mas Arai mystery series looks to the past for answers. “I do think there’s a continuum in terms of history and today,” Hirahara said. Her writings explore “how history reverberates and echoes.” Hirahara recently won the most prestigious mystery-writing prize – the Edgar Allen Poe award, known as an Edgar – for Best Paperback Original for her third and latest Mas Arai installation, “Snakeskin Shamisen.” She spent a year immersed in Japanese culture, boning up her bilingual abilities in Tokyo in an advanced languages program, eating traditional Japanese food, and trekking daily to the public bath for hot water. Mas is based on Hirahara’s father, who also survived the atomic bombing. [email protected] (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4586 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!