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Toby Peters novels offer mystery with a classic Hollywood twist

Stuart Kaminsky's Toby Peters mysteries begin with "Bullet for a Star."
Stuart Kaminsky's Toby Peters mysteries begin with "Bullet for a Star."
Book cover from MysteriousPress

Classic movie fans looking for entertaining light fiction need search no farther than Stuart Kaminsky's mystery series starring Hollywood detective Toby Peters, who inhabits World War II era Tinseltown and takes cases for some very high profile clients. Kaminsky, who died in 2009, wrote two dozen novels starring the Hollywood private eye, beginning with "Bullet for a Star" and ending with "Now You See It." While most of the Peters books are out of print in traditional formats, readers can now enjoy the series in Kindle and Nook ebook editions, which makes this a great time to dive into the Kaminsky canon.

The Toby Peters mysteries make for breezy reading, with each installment introducing a new celebrity client and advancing the ongoing stories of Toby and his associates. For classic film fans, the real appeal of the series lies in its depiction of 1940s Hollywood and the movie stars who come to Peters looking for his professional discretion and personal assistance. The first novel opens with Errol Flynn as the star in a jam; later books feature Bette Davis, Peter Lorre, Bela Lugosi, Joan Crawford, Mae West, Cary Grant, Judy Garland, and Chico Marx, just to name a few.

While the mysteries follow well-established conventions of the genre, from their hard luck protagonist to his hard-boiled way of describing the world, Kaminsky reveals a delightful eye for the details of the period and a true fan's knowledge of the stars. His fictional versions of the Hollywood gods and goddesses ring true, and film buffs will revel in the many allusions to movies and the celebrity gossip of the day. Colorful supporting characters, including Toby's ill-tempered brother, a dentist who shares his office space, and the fellow residents of his boarding house, bring interest and a sense of continuity to the tales.

The first book in the series, "Bullet for a Star," is available in paperback and ebook editions from MysteriousPress, which also publishes the Kindle and Nook versions of the other installments. Learn more about Stuart Kaminsky and the Toby Peters books by visiting the publisher's website profile.