From Publishers Weekly
It's a mystery how a rumpled, unprepossessing sort of private eye like Toby Peters has lasted long enough to save the hides of Hollywood stars such as the Marx Brothers and Bette Davis, literary luminaries William Faulkner and Dashiell Hammett and even political powerhouse Eleanor Roosevelt. Nonetheless, the intrepid sleuth returns for a 21st outing, his first since 1997's A Fatal Glass of Beer. It's 1943, and a beleaguered Charlie Chaplin is in need of Peters's services. A strange man has threatened Chaplin, whose latest movie project, about a serial killer who woos, marries and murders older women, seems to have offended a real-life counterpart. A familiar supporting cast is on hand to aid Peters: massive Jeremy Butler, ex-wrestler-turned-poet; Sheldon Minck, inept dentist and inventor; and Gunther Wherthman, suave, multilingual little person. With broad humor more likely to invite smiles than laughs and a substantial framework of nostalgia (Kaminsky doesn't just throw names around, he really evokes the era), Peters and friends pursue a crafty killer. Older readers will enjoy references that may be obscure to younger ones. For example, Peters drives a Crosley that "runs on washing machine and refrigerator parts," a reference to the defunct Crosley Co. that manufactured radios, refrigerators and appliances as well as cars. In sum, the author's facile competence has produced an amusing story full of suitable heroics. (Aug. 1)novels, including ongoing series about Russian policeman Porfiry Rostnikov, Chicago cop Abe Lieberman and Jim Rockford of TV's Rockford Files.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
In December 1943, Charlie Chaplin is not the most popular man in America. He's never become an American citizen; he's a Communist sympathizer; and he has just married a much younger woman. When a man shows up at Chaplin's home wielding a knife, the actor hires private investigator Toby Peters. The trail leads to a serial killer who targets older women--which just happens to be the theme of a script Chaplin is hoping to film. Toby, with his crew of amateur assistants--among them a poetic ex-wrestler, a well-armed midget, and a dentist--finds himself drowning in false clues as the case becomes ever more muddled. Kaminsky is an Edgar-winning author of 60 mystery novels in four detective series. Toby Peters may be his best-known character and is arguably his most endearing. Peters is an everyman with bills, an ex-wife he still misses, a drab room in a cheap boardinghouse, and a surprisingly optimistic view of the future. He's a good guy with a sense of humor, and every appearance he makes is a welcome one. Wes LukowskyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved