Mildred Pierced: A Toby Peters Mystery

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9780786711826: Mildred Pierced: A Toby Peters Mystery
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That down-at-the-heels gumshoe Toby Peters again proves to be “an unblemished delight,” as the Washington Post Book World put it, while his creator, Stuart M. Kaminsky, continues to “make the totally wacky possible” in a zany new Hollywood adventure. Having survived the hire of such movie luminaries as Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, Charlie Chaplin, and Cary Grant, tinsel-town detective Toby finds himself in the employ of an edgy Joan Crawford. Actually, Toby needs Miss Crawford as much as she needs him. His longtime friend and office mate, the mad dentist Sheldon Minck, has been jailed for murder—the victim, his estranged wife, Mildred; the motive, a $200,000 inheritance; the weapon, a crossbow. Only Miss Crawford, the single witness to the crime, can attest to hapless Minck’s innocence. But the former MGM movie queen has just been offered her first film in two years, as the title character in Mildred Pierce, so she is anxious to avoid unpleasant publicity that could cost her the role. So it’s up to Toby to solve the crime, save Minck, and thus keep Miss Crawford’s famous name out of the daily papers.

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About the Author:

Stuart M. Kaminsky (1934-2009) was one of the most prolific crime fiction authors of the last four decades. Born in Chicago, Kaminsky penned more than sixty novels over his lifetime. 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. He died in St. Louis in 2009.

From Booklist:

*Starred Review* A woman named Mildred is pierced by a bolt from a crossbow in a public park; Joan Crawford, out on an errand before she begins filming Mildred Pierce, witnesses the killing. So, Kaminski's punny title for the twenty-third Toby Peters mystery perfectly captures the ridiculous (in the best sense of the term) cross-cutting between detection and movie lore that has long been the hallmark of this series. Peters' career as an ex-cop-current private eye spans a fascinating chunk of Hollywood movie history, from the Depression--Murder on the Yellow Brick Road (1977), in which Peters took on the case of an allegedly murderous Munchkin--into World War II. Now, it's June 1944. Toby is still figuring out the ration points for his boardinghouse landlady and renting office space from the dentist Sheldon Minck. It's Minck who's in trouble, big time, because he admits shooting the crossbow that killed his wife but insists it was another of his many klutzy accidents. Peters is working for both Minck, who hires him to help prove his innocence, and Joan Crawford, who hires him to keep her name out of the papers. As Peters investigates, he is pulled into a bizarre world of survivalists who want Minck dead and, once again, into the bizarre world of Hollywood infighting. Kaminsky stands out as a subtle historian, unobtrusively but entertainingly weaving into the story itself what people were wearing, eating, driving, and listening to on the radio. A page-turning romp. Connie Fletcher
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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