A huckster repeatedly robs a comedian, leading Toby on a cross-country chase.
The bank accounts are in the names of men like Otis J. Raisincluster, Quigley E. Sneersight, and Cormorant Beecham, but any comedy connoisseur knows that names that nonsensical could come only from the twisted brain of W. C. Fields. When toiling on the vaudeville circuit, the acid-tongued comic actor opened a new account in every town he played, adding up to a mountain of bankbooks and nearly a million dollars squirreled away in banks across the country. When a burglar makes off with a stack of the books, Fields hires private investigator Toby Peters to protect his nest egg. Toby's going on a road trip, and Fields wants to come along for the ride.
As the trail winds through the nation's smallest towns, complications pop up in the form of the Amish, John Barrymore, and the Ku Klux Klan. If the thief doesn't kill Toby Peters, W. C. Fields's ceaseless shtick might.
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.
"Impressive. . . . Kaminsky has staked a claim to a piece of the Russian turf. . . . He captures the Russian scene and characters in rich detail." - The Washington Post Book World.
"Quite simply the best cop to come out of the Soviet Union since Martin Cruz Smith's Arkady Renko in Gorky Park." - The San Francisco Examiner.
"Stuart Kaminsky's Rostnikov novels are among the best mysteries being written." - The San Diego Union-Tribune.