A Gina Miyoko Mystery
by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
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A BVC Original
“Walkabout” is the genesis story of Gina Miyoko, PI, protagonist of THE ANTIQUITIES HUNTER (2018, Pegasus Crime.)
What sort of mystery could unfold in the heart of an obsessively neat junkyard? Wannabe detective Gina Miyoko (AKA Tinkerbell) is about to find out.
She’s 5′2″, gamine, and weighs eighty-nine pounds in a soggy trench coat.
The nickname “Tinkerbell” has followed her from high school. It’s hard to imagine her riding a Harley named Boris, or packing a baby blue .357.
She does both. After a disastrous engagement and leaving the SFPD, Gina Miyoko is on walkabout in Gold Rush country, looking for clues to her own future.
What are the odds she’ll end up in the middle of a mystery deep in the heart of an obsessively neat junkyard?
A excerpt from “Tinkerbell on Walkabout”:
“Take varm clothes, Gina,” Mom says. “Is cold at night.” She’s said the same thing in the same moose-and-squirrel accent since I was twelve and going off to summer camp.
“Mom,” I say, “it’s May.”
“Sveater veather,” she says, pulls the aforementioned garment out of my dresser, and lays it atop my duffel.
It’s the bulkiest sweater I own, bright red, and makes me look like a big, fuzzy chili pepper. It also takes up half the duffel, but it was her gift to me. Need I say more?
We have this conversation every time I leave home for more than a day and I always leave with extra sweaters, extra sox, vitamins of all kinds and—
“You have your obereg?”
This literally means “protector” in The Mother’s Tongue and, like the sweater and vitamins, is something Mom will not let me leave home without. Not that she’d admit to being superstitious. But with a PhD in Russian folklore, a fascination with arcana, and a vast collection of materia magica from all over the world, she views packing an amulet as a practical consideration. Better safe than sorry, after all.
I reach into my jeans pocket and retrieve the obereg du jour—the smallest of a set of nesting matryoshka dolls that have spent some time under the altar at Our Lady of Kazan.
“See? I’m all obereg-ed up.”
“Good,” she says. “Don’t vorget to say goodbye to Edmund.”
I never forget to say goodbye to Dad, who never says word one about sweaters, vitamins, or amulets. My down-to-earth Japanese-American father only ever asks: “Did you pack your sidearm?”
I sometimes think people with dysfunctional families have it easy. Okay, not really. My odd but stubbornly functional family is what got me through my teens, my broken engagement, my ex-fiancé’s trial for the attempted murder of my aforementioned father, and my resignation from the San Francisco PD. They don’t seem to mind that at twenty-six I’m still trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up.
Now, as I speed my Harley northeast on Interstate 80 toward the picture postcard capitol of Northern California, I reflect that I have always and only wanted to be a cop. I still do, notwithstanding I’ve proven I’m not cop material.
I’ve toyed with the idea of becoming a P.I., but I have reservations. Not because the work is hard and dangerous—no problem, I have an obereg for every occasion—but I mean, honestly, how seriously would you take a detective who’s five-foot-one and weighs ninety pounds in a soggy trench coat?
Hence, I am heading upstate for a Gold Country walkabout, thanks to my high school buddy, July Petersen, who insists I come up and check out the California Forestry Department.
Gina Miyoko, Forest R-r-ranger. Right.