Cover image for Now you see it : a Toby Peters mystery
Now you see it : a Toby Peters mystery
Kaminsky, Stuart M.
Personal Author:
First Carroll and Graf edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Carroll & Graf Publishers ; [Berkeley, Calif.] : Distributed by Publishers Group West, [2004]

Physical Description:
x, 227 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
FICTION Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

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Illusion gets more deadly than reality on Toby Peters's twenty-fourth outing from Edgar-winning author Stuart M. Kaminsky. A string of star-studded successes--most recently with Cary Grant in To Catch a Spy and an edgy Joan Crawford in Mildred Pierced--has won Tinseltown detective Toby Peters a bit of local celebrity, and that's something his new client, Harry Blackstone, understands. At the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles, Blackstone is billed as the World's Greatest Living Magician. Of course, should the giant buzz saw in the climax to Blackstone's act cut the beautiful young woman in fact in half, his sterling reputation would be ruined. And someone among the Los Angeles Friends of Magic is decidedly intent upon ruining it--whatever the price, including the life of Toby's prime suspect. Unfortunately, with the corpse count mounting, the evidence is pointing increasingly to Toby's client as the man behind the murders. As always, adding to the wackiness of Toby's investigation are the ungentle dentist Sheldon Minck, wrestler-poet Jeremy Butler, the suave, small-statured Swiss multilingualist Gunter Wherthman, and daffy Mrs. Plaut. But to solve the case, Toby finds he needs someone else--the dashing star of the movie A Thousand and One Nights, Cornel Wilde.

Author Notes

Stuart M. Kaminsky is head of the radio/television/film department at Northwestern University in Illinois. He is also a writer of textbooks, screenplays, and mystery novels.

The more popular of his two series of detective novels features Toby Peters. Set in the 1930s and 1940s, the Peters books draw on Kaminsky's knowledge of history and love of film by incorporating characters from the film industry's past in nostalgic mysteries. Murder on the Yellow Brick Road (1978), for example, features Judy Garland while Catch a Falling Clown (1982) stars Emmett Kelley as Peters's client and Alfred Hitchcock as a murder suspect.

His other critically acclaimed series chronicles the cases of Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov. Kaminsky's detailed studies of Russian police procedure combined with aspects of life in Russia have earned the Series an Edgar nomination for Black Knight in Red Square (1984) and the 1989 Edgar Award for A Cold Red Sunrise (1988).

Stuart Kaminsky was born in Chicago in 1934 and died in 2009.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Kaminsky is tirelessly inventive, with more than 70 novels in three ongoing series, one set in old-time Hollywood and two more in contemporary Chicago and Moscow, respectively. What's more, Kaminsky neatly sidesteps the traps many prolific writers fall into--the first, of assuming the reader has been with the series from the beginning and failing to let new readers in on the series secrets; the second, of making grotesque soap operas out of the basic series format in an attempt to remain fresh. It's hard to find a clunker in the Kaminsky canon, so believable are his bizarre situations and quirky characters. This mystery brings back Hollywood private-eye Toby Peters, newly partnered in confidential investigations with his ex-LAPD cop brother. From the 1930s, Toby has trolled Hollywood back lots and back alleys in cases involving the likes of Munchkins, stuntmen, studio bosses, Cary Grant, and Joan Crawford. Now it's 1944, and the famous magician Harry Blackstone, doing his wartime bit by performing for the USO, reaches out to Toby and his brother because someone is threatening to kill him if he doesn't reveal the secrets to his illusions. The attempts on Blackstone's life are staged like magic tricks themselves. And the book resembles one of Blackstone's own boxes made out of cunningly crafted compartment--in this case, wartime Hollywood, the history of magic, Blackstone, and his illusions, all opening and shutting on a plot that piles up bodies and puzzles. A marvelous magic trick of a mystery. --Connie Fletcher Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

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) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved