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Toby Peters Books In Order

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Publication Order of Toby Peters Books

Bullet for a Star (1977)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder on the Yellow Brick Road (1977)Description / Buy at Amazon
You Bet Your Life (1978)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Howard Hughes Affair (1979)Description / Buy at Amazon
Never Cross a Vampire (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon
High Midnight (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
Catch a Falling Clown (1982)Description / Buy at Amazon
He Done Her Wrong (1983)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Fala Factor (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon
Down for the Count (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Man Who Shot Lewis Vance (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
Smart Moves (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
Think Fast, Mr. Peters (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
Buried Caesars (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
Poor Butterfly (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Melting Clock (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Devil Met a Lady (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
Tomorrow is Another Day (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dancing in the Dark (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Fatal Glass of Beer (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Few Minutes Past Midnight (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
To Catch A Spy (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mildred Pierced (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Now You See It (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon

“This is a job for a lazy man with muscles and not too many brains. The pay stinks, I get hit a lot, and I eat badly. So why do I do it? Because every once in a while, it makes me feel really alive. “

Toby Peters

First historical private detective series appeared at around 1970’s, where else than in Hollywood. It was written by Stuart M. Kaminsky, American novelist, mystery writer and film professor and it was boldfaced, light- hearted, entertaining mix of Hollywood trivia, nostalgia and detective fiction.

LA detective, Toby Peters was not your usual 1940’s detective. Broken- nosed ex- security guard, who have had his fare share of raw deals, more wise than street smart, poor shoot who always gets the worst out his fights is the true hero of not less than 24 murder mysteries.

His real name is Tobias Leo Pevsner. He grew up in Glendale, California with his older brother Phil. Both of them worked hard in their father’s grocery store having only one thing on their mind- someday they would become respected cups. And they did. But that wasn’t the “happy end” they’ve expected. At least not for Toby. Phil got married, got kids, got promoted and stayed with cops, while Toby of course got in trouble. He too got married, but soon afterwards got divorced. He got fired but then got a job as a security guard at Warner Bros. Soon after he got hired, he officially ran out of luck. After he broke the arm of some cowboy on set, trying to prove him he wasn’t as tough in real life, as he was on the screen, he got booted by Jack Warner himself. Since he was out of options and out of luck, the only thing he could do was to set up a shop as not particularly choosy private eye. Little did he know how much his luck was going to change!

When four years later he gets a call from his former employer, Sid Adelman he starts wondering but of course he is not going to turn down a job offer. Even if the job is offered by those ones who kicked him out- prewar business of private detectives was a bit slower than you would expect. Missing people, bodyguard works, nothing much but this new offer sounded like a real deal. Surrounded by characters like Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre and Edward G. Robinson a quarter of a century long adventure of detective Toby Peters was about to start.

Someone wanted to blackmail studio’s gem Errol Flynn with compromising pictures of him and underage, naked, blond girl. Everything seemed so simple. The anonymous perpetrator asked for 5000$ and Toby was to deliver the money and get the negatives. What could possibly go wrong? Apparently, so many things! After suffering and explosions his gun, photos of a promiscuous girl with Flynn and the money are gone but on the bright side blackmailer is there. Unfortunately for Toby he is dead and Toby gets arrested. Thanks to his brother he gets release but his problems keep multiplying. Not only he has to find the money, missing pictures and the true killer in order to get the rest of his fee, he has to deal with his brother on top of everything. Bodies are piling, crazy murderer ready to make more attempts on his life is out there and he has to escape police custody and try to sort everything out. “Bullet for the star” is definitely a wonderful fun, but more is yet to come.

Peter receives an urgent phone call from at that time quite modest Hollywood star Judy Garland saying she has found a munchkin stabbed to death on leftover set from “The Wizard of Oz” at MGM. An ex security worker who have recently helped Errol Flynn seemed as a right person to call at the time. Toby was quite realistic, he had no illusions the only reason he has been called is a fact that his brother Phil is now a Lieutenant at Homicide Department and MGM wanted to avoid scandal at any cost. Falling under the pressure of studio’s stuff he accepts the job and the first things he should learn are: who was the man dressed as a munchkin and who on earth would want to kill him? Of course the story wouldn’t be as appealing if there were no celebrities, shots and scandals. One of the witnesses is Clerk Gable and with his Judy’s and Raymond Chandler’s help, Peter will yet again turn to be a hero who saves the day. In this adventure, he gets shot more times than you can possibly imagine, he makes friends with whom else but the main suspect for the crimes, arrested by his brother. Who will later become his permanent partner in solving crimes. What makes this story stand out from the other crime dramas is that most of the celebrities have been shown in as realist environment and fashion as possible. Hollywood atmosphere was caught well and Kaminsky definitely deserved praise for rendering star’s personalities so trustworthy. There are just a few fictional characters so it is actually not that difficult to figure out who is the real crook but that won’t spoil your party.

Toby Peters is a character made by knowledgable and true lower of Golden Age Hollywood. Stuart Kaminsky never failed his character and he never stopped carrying for him. He made a detective who wasn’t so smart, not that good at fight, not so good looking ether and didn’t make a lot of money. He is not witty and clever and his dialogues aren’t so hard to figure out but he is funny, stubborn and charming with a great sense of justice. Over the years his cases became more serious but he never stopped working with celebrities. Twenty four hardboiled mysteries, plenty of 40’s superstars not only from public life of Hollywood but from arts, sports and politics will get you so absorbed in reading. For those ones who love old movies this series will be a true blast form the past, even is detective stories aren’t really your cup of tea- these ones will be, you can count on that. After all 1940’set mysteries never go out of style!

Book Series In Order » Characters » Toby Peters

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