Toby and his brother team up to protect a magician from disappearing for good

In the six years since he lost his job working security at the Warner Brothers’ lot, private investigator Toby Peters has taken cases from oddballs ranging from Peter Lorre to W. C. Fields. But none of them had the stage presence of Harry Blackstone, the greatest magician in the world. When an ...
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Toby and his brother team up to protect a magician from disappearing for good

In the six years since he lost his job working security at the Warner Brothers’ lot, private investigator Toby Peters has taken cases from oddballs ranging from Peter Lorre to W. C. Fields. But none of them had the stage presence of Harry Blackstone, the greatest magician in the world. When an anonymous rival demands the illusionist reveal his secrets on stage or suffer the consequences, Blackstone hires Toby and his brother, ex-cop Phil, to run security at the show.
What starts as a simple protection job turns dicey when Toby finds himself onstage, with a possibly unsafe magic saw about to slice through his midsection. Bodies pile up around the act, and the two detectives begin to think that the killer isn’t a jealous member of the Los Angeles Friends of Magic, but rather the great magician himself.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When PI Toby Peters answers the bell for the 24th time, his footwork is as nimble as ever, even if the dance will be familiar to fans of Kaminsky's Hollywood historical series. The celebrity-friendly detective has aided every kind of star from Errol Flynn in the first book (Bullet for a Star) to Joan Crawford in the most recent (Mildred Pierced). Toby often earns gratitude, frequently reaps scars and bruises, but never garners the kind of riches likely to change his boarding-house lifestyle. As WWII appears headed for a close, the great magician Harry Blackstone, who's been challenged and (apparently) threatened by a third-rate competitor, approaches Toby. Now teamed up with his brother, Phil, Toby undertakes to protect and unmask Blackstone's nemesis. Kaminsky makes an art of interjecting bits and pieces of period color, from Toby's dilapidated Crosley auto to 1940s songs or jingles. The running madcap humor includes landlady Irene Plaut's endless memoirs and dentist Shelly Minck's wacky inventions. Murder transforms Blackstone from magician to suspect and leaves him holding the bag, with predictably enjoyable results. Intriguing but simple magic tricks borrowed from Blackstone: The Magic Detective radio show serve as clever chapter lead-ins. Agent, Donald Maass. (Nov. 2) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Joined by his recently retired brother Phil Pevsner, 1940s p.i. Toby Peters (Mildred Pierced, 2003, etc.) proves that the hand really isn't quicker than the eye when he plays bodyguard to a famous magician. Harry Blackstone isn't so much scared as piqued by anonymous threats to sabotage his act unless he reveals the secrets of his illusions. But just to make sure his lovely assistant doesn't really get sawed in half, he hires Pevsner and Peters to check things out backstage. Sure enough, a vital safety switch goes missing from Blackstone's buzz saw, forcing Toby to make a daring last-minute rescue-only to find blackmailing con man Robert R. Cunningham shot to death in a dressing room. As the threats continue, suspicion falls on rival conjurer Calvin Ott, who under his stage name Marcus Keller arranges a testimonial dinner for Blackstone and offers to present the diners with "the death of a magician." Unfortunately for Ott, the dead magician turns out to be him. So Toby and Phil, along with four-foot-tall Gunther Wherthman, ex-wrestler Jeremy Butler, and demented dentist Sheldon Minck, all have to sweat in their rented tuxedos while the LAPD's John Cawelti tries to establish who saw what in a room full of illusionists. The Peters entourage, barreling ahead full tilt, provides just enough insanity to enliven a routine whodunit.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781453247389
  • Publisher: MysteriousPress.com/Open Road
  • Publication date: 2/28/2012
  • Series: The Toby Peters Mysteries , #24
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 236
  • Sales rank: 807,597
  • File size: 864 KB

Meet the Author

Stuart M. Kaminsky (1934–2009) was one of the most prolific crime fiction authors of the last four decades. Born in Chicago, he spent his youth immersed in pulp fiction and classic cinema—two forms of popular entertainment which he would make his life’s work. After college and a stint in the army, Kaminsky wrote film criticism and biographies of the great actors and directors of Hollywood’s Golden Age. In 1977, when a planned biography of Charlton Heston fell through, Kaminsky wrote Bullet for a Star, his first Toby Peters novel, beginning a fiction career that would last the rest of his life.
Kaminsky penned twenty-four novels starring the detective, whom he described as “the anti-Philip Marlowe.” In 1981’s Death of a Dissident, Kaminsky debuted Moscow police detective Porfiry Rostnikov, whose stories were praised for their accurate depiction of Soviet life. His other two series starred Abe Lieberman, a hardened Chicago cop, and Lew Fonseca, a process server. In all, Kaminsky wrote more than sixty novels. He died in St. Louis in 2009.
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Table of Contents

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