cover image The Man Who Shot Lewis Vance: A Toby Peters Mystery

The Man Who Shot Lewis Vance: A Toby Peters Mystery

Stuart M. Kaminsky. St. Martin's Press, $14.95 (194pp) ISBN 978-0-312-51394-8

The setting is Hollywood in 1942, and someone is out to kill John Wayne, in this 11th adventure featuring private gumshoe Toby Peters (Down for the Count. A man named Lewis Vance lures Toby to his hotel room, ostensibly to hire him for a case. But Toby, after awakening from a stupor induced by a drugged Pepsi, finds himself in the room with Vance's corpse on the bed and John Wayne pointing a .38 at his chest. Wayne has also been lured there by a cryptic phone call and is suspicious of the P.I., but when he learns that Toby is a chum from his old neighborhood, the actor hires him to find the real culprit. The case gets more tangled when Toby discovers a link between Vance's alleged killera shady desk clerk named Teddy Spaghettiand the theft of a $10,000 donation (made by Charlie Chaplin) to a charity promoting Soviet-American relations; he soon find himself in Chaplin's hire to recover the stolen money. As in the other entries in this series, Kaminsky's use of period detail and his appealing renderings of real-life celebrities provide the strongest recommendations for this well-plotted mystery. (March 4)