Murder on Bamboo Lane

Naomi Hirahara is a professional writer; fiction, non-fiction, newspapers, and teacher. Both of her parents were in Hiroshima when the bomb destroyed the city. They met much later and were married in 1960. Her father, American born, returned with his wife to Southern California. Naomi was born in Pasadena.

No surprise then that the hero of this story is a half-Japanese LAPD bicycle cop. Ellie Rush followed her aunt into the police force. Aunt Cheryl is now a deputy chief and is not above using her niece as an informer. Ellie’s mother, Cheryl’s sister, is less interested in Japanese than her husband. As Ellie said, “My dad, the white guy, is sometimes more Japanese than any of us.” Grandma Toma is busy watching UCLA basketball.

But, back to the case. A Vietnamese girl is shot on Bamboo Lane. The investigation questions friends who are Cambodian, Thi, Chinese, and Vietnamese. Most are American born, except the victim. Why is a lowly bike cop involved? She knows most of the people in the case and even identifies the body. Also, remember Aunt Cheryl? She arranged for Ellie to work with the lead detective.

The story has plenty of twists and plenty of problems for the hero. She narrates the story with a fair share of humor.

This book was published in 2014. There is a second book in the series: Grave on Grand Avenue (2015). Hirahara has another series featuring the Japanese gardner, Mas Arai. It is also a mystery series.

The characters are real. I feel like I was in their home during Grandma Toma’s eighty-eighth birthday celebration–one that would never make the cover of any magazine except Dysfunctional Families. Ellie is a no-longer-Catholic who likes to visit the priest from Ghana, who just happens to speak Vietnamese. In LA, that is easy to believe.

Mike Lawrence


He Shall Build a House for My Name


2 Samuel 7:1-14a
Psalm 89:20-37
Ephesians 2:11-22
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56


David conquered the city of the Jebusites and named it Jerusalem. The traditions of the Middle East of that time was to have a capital city, especially a newly captured important city, that could also serve as the resting place of the national god.

David appears to have intended to follow the pattern. He had his palace built along with other necessary government buildings, and now he expected to place God in a new building befitting the God of Israel. Living in a tent could no longer be permitted.

As we read, God had other ideas. The tent will do nicely for now.

[1 Samuel 1:7,9 refer to “the House of the Lord,” but that should be taken as the tabernacle.]

God ordered David to be the Great king he was chosen to be and let his son build the Temple.

There is an important play on words in the Hebrew. David intends to build a bayit, a house for God, but God tells David through Nathan, The Lord declares to you that He, the Lord, will establish a house/bayit for youJSB (verse 11b)

In the most lasting sense, David will build a house for God.

Two more important points. Verses 12-13: When your days are done and you lie with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own issue, and I will establish his kingship. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish his royal throne foreverJSB

Firstly, the house will be built for the Name of God. God cannot be tied to one place; He is God of the universe. It was one thing to lead Israel through the wilderness until they reached the summit of their destination. It would be un-Godly to limit Himself to one small city in one small kingdom.

Secondly, the two verses must be read as two-fold prophecies. The first regards Solomon and the second regards the Messiah. The bayit Solomon would build would only hold the Name of God, but the bayit of the Messiah would hold all the Children of God.


Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence