Toby Peters goes to Chicago to clear up a famous comic's gambling debts.
There's nothing funny about the package that comes for Chico Marx. It's a severed ear, a simple message from a Chicago bookie who wants §120,000 from the world-renown Marx brother. The strange thing is that, though Chico likes to gamble, he hasn't been making bets in Chicago. Terrified, he goes to the studio for help. Louis B. Mayer, king of Hollywood, places a call to Toby Peters.
Peters's first lead is promising. Traveling on the studio's dime, he makes his way to Florida where he gets an interview with Al Capone, deposed lord of the Chicago underworld. The retired bootlegger's mind has gone soft, and he doesn't know anything about Chico's bookie, but he suggests Peters speak to his brother. With Scarface's good word as an introduction, Peters goes to Chicago, where it will take more than a good sense of humor to keep the Marxes from getting axed.
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, 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.
"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." - Booklist.
"For anyone with a taste for old Hollywood B-movie mysteries, Edgar winner Kaminsky offers plenty of nostalgic fun . . . The tone is light, the pace brisk, the tongue firmly in cheek." - Publishers Weekly.
"Marvelously entertaining." - Newsday.
"Makes the totally wacky possible . . . Peters [is] an unblemished delight." - Washington Post.
"The Ed McBain of Mother Russia." - Kirkus Reviews.