cover image Poor Butterfly

Poor Butterfly

Stuart M. Kaminsky. Mysterious Press, $17.45 (179pp) ISBN 978-0-89296-411-6

In the latest of Kaminsky's popular crime capers recreating lost times and glamorous figures, PI Toby Peters gets an assignment from Leopold Stokowski. The maestro's rehearsals for Madame Butterfly in 1942 incite anti-Japanese protests at the crumbling San Francisco Opera House while ``Erik,'' this opera's phantom, kills performers inside. Although Toby's loyal if outlandish buddies arrive to help, Eric eludes them and the murders continue. The detective himself barely escapes death and arrest for killing while he investigates likely suspects: the fake evangelist leading the pickets damning the debasement of noble Lt. Pinkerton; the opera house's eccentric caretaker; a once-hopeful singer with a failing voice. Hardly a pause separate the frightful, madly comic and nostalgic incidents made believable and entertaining in Kaminsky's artful handling. (June)