A Fatal Glass of Beer (Toby Peters Series #20)

Overview

W. C. Fields may be Hollywood's reigning jester, but he's no fool. For forty years he's cached over a million dollars of his lucre under assumed names in dozens of banks all over the country. The verdant towns have names like Coshocton, Ohio, and Rifle, Colorado. The noms de guerre have the distinctively Fieldsien ring of Otis Cribblecobblis, Quigley E. Sneersight, and Cormorant Beecham. But now a man who calls himself Lester O. Hipnoodle, a public menace with a maddeningly unspecified score to settle, has ...
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A Fatal Glass of Beer

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Overview

W. C. Fields may be Hollywood's reigning jester, but he's no fool. For forty years he's cached over a million dollars of his lucre under assumed names in dozens of banks all over the country. The verdant towns have names like Coshocton, Ohio, and Rifle, Colorado. The noms de guerre have the distinctively Fieldsien ring of Otis Cribblecobblis, Quigley E. Sneersight, and Cormorant Beecham. But now a man who calls himself Lester O. Hipnoodle, a public menace with a maddeningly unspecified score to settle, has somehow lifted the great man's bankbooks and roams the nation cleaning out Field's deposits. America's flying fortresses successfully bomb the Nazi port of Rotterdam. In North Africa, General Montgomery advances on Rommel. British subs sink six Axis ships in the Mediterranean. And Toby Peters, the not always gainfully employed sleuth to the stars, has an assignment - get back Fields's money. From Altoona to Ottumwa, from Panguitch to Lompoc, Toby maneuvers a Cadillac sedan in the company of the martini-tippling, Indian club-juggling, pontificating Fields. Hipnoodle taunts them with tantalizing clues and harries them with the occasional bullet. The ugly specter of the Ku Klux Klan and the immortal profile of John Barrymore cast their enigmatic shadows across their path. As Peters and Fields pursue their quarry, an additional, mysterious desperado lights on their tail, whose interest lies not so much in grabbing Fields's fortune as in cancelling his - and Toby's - accounts. Permanently.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The 20th appearance of Toby Peters, Hollywood's Golden Age PI, begins on April 1, 1943, and traces Peters's road trip with W.C. Fields as they try to catch up with the thief who is emptying out bank accounts the comedian has stashed in different states throughout the country. From L.A. to Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, Nebraska and Utah, they and their driver, multilingual Swiss midget Gunther Wherthman, remain just a step behind the man who assumes Fields's identity and cleans out one account after another, and only one step in front of Fields's former driver whom they thought had stayed in L.A. A murder in Iowa reveals that John Barrymore had been involved in what was intended as an elaborate caper. After stumbling into a KKK rally in Nebraska, the threesome learn that yet another party is involved in the thievery and are involved in a second homicide. Back in L.A., Toby connects up with his police detective brother and determines where the April Fool's Day joke turned into a fatally serious game. Kaminsky (Dancing in the Dark) balances one-liners from Fields with headlines about the war effort in this amiable adventure that delivers a nicely twisted plot with fully dimensioned characters, including the usually caricatured misanthropic comedian. (May)
Library Journal
The prolific Kaminsky here offers the 20th Toby Peters mystery. Peters and W.C. Fields cross the country (chauffeured by a Swiss midget) in search of Lester O. Hipnoodle, the villain who has somehow gained access to Field's numerous hidden bank accounts. An enjoyable lark.
Kirkus Reviews
In the strangely prudent youth that preceded his misspent middle age, misanthropic funnyman W.C. Fields squirreled away sizeable chunks of his earnings in banks across the country, under such quaintly Fieldsian monikers as Otis J. Raisincluster and Cormorant Beecham III. But now some scoundrel calling himself Lester O. Hipnoodle has absconded with Fields's stash of bankbooks and is traversing this great land cleaning out the accounts, pausing only long enough to taunt the great man with mocking letters and phone calls. Determined to give Hipnoodle a run for his money, Fields engages Hollywood detective Toby Peters to accompany him on his race from Philadelphia to Ottumwa, Iowa, to Panguitch, Utah (with stops at lesser oases on the way), to beat Hipnoodle to the boodle. From Pennsylvania to the midwest, the crafty thief comes out one step and many dollars ahead by one clever ruse after another—but somewhere along the line he stops stuffing money into his suitcase and starts shooting, and by the time the curtain rings down, two people are dead, and Toby's lost one of his favorite appendages.

Fields's blather is perfectly suited to Kaminsky's overgalvanized style, and the cross-country odyssey gets Toby away from the menagerie of friends-and-relations who've weighed down his last few outings. Toby's 20th (Dancing in the Dark, 1996, etc.) is cause for celebration, especially if Fields is paying.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780892966301
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 5/1/1997
  • Series: Toby Peters Series , #20
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.82 (w) x 8.57 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Table of Contents

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