Think Fast, Mr. Peters

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Los Angeles in 1942: The studios ruled the silver screen, television had yet to rear its ugly head, and the United States was fighting the last “good war.” Middle-aged detective Toby Peters was there to see it all, and mystery writer Stuart Kaminsky guides him through his twelfth adventure on the fringes of Hollywood.

Toby’s office partner, dentist Sheldon Minck, calls Toby one day to exclaim that his wife has run off with film star Peter Lorre. Toby takes the case only to find out that Mildred Minck ran away with Peter Lowry, a Lorre imitator. Apparently, imitating Peter Lorre is a popular, but deadly, business, for no sooner does Toby contact Lowry than the mimic is shot down in Toby’s sight.

The trail leads Toby to the real Peter Lorre and on an intriguing tour of Hollywood the way it used to be. Author Kaminsky mixes historical characters--such as Lorre and Sidney Greenstreet--into the weave of the mystery story without missing a step. Toby Peters narrates the tale with intelligence and wit, emerging as a fictional gumshoe with the broad masculine appeal of such perennials as Travis McGee.

The other titles in the Toby Peters series--such as MURDER ON THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD and BULLET FOR A STAR--are also set close to identifiable landmarks in Hollywood’s past, making them of interest not only to the mystery fan but also to anyone with a taste for nostalgia and Hollywood history as well.