cover image Smart Moves: A Toby Peters Mystery

Smart Moves: A Toby Peters Mystery

Stuart M. Kaminsky. St. Martin's Press, $15.95 (212pp) ISBN 978-0-312-00190-2

In the 11th Toby Peters caper, Kaminsky (The Man Who Shot Lewis Vance relocates his seedy, middle-aged private eye to New York. Away from L.A. and his usual movie star clients, Peters is still working for celebrities. This time (April, 1942) his client is Albert Einstein, worried that Nazi Fifth columnists are besmirching his loyalty to the Allied cause. Almost incidentally, they may also be planning an assassination. Peters flies East, sets up in New York's Taft Hotel and gets on the case. Soon he's involved with a couple of wise-cracking FBI men, the singer Paul Robeson and a production of Othello, a crazed Hungarian killer and an aging female telephone operator at the Taft. Peters's L.A. officemate, dentist Shelly Minck, is also in town. Peters and Minck move around a lot, avoiding the Hungarian and discovering bodies until the climax at the Waldorf-Astoria. Kaminsky's usual 1940s home-front color is rather pale here (despite a nice scene of Sinatra at the Paramount); the plot doesn't need an Einstein to figure it out; and the Peters-and-Minck slapstick wears thin. Quick, Toby: Back to Hollywood. (March 24)