©1981 St. Martin’s, New York
Stuart Kaminsky follows up High Midnight with this Toby Peters adventure in which our ne’er-do-well hero finds himself returning to the small town of Mirador, California in search of a circus. Of course he isn’t welcome in the little town because of the last case that had him visiting—when he got on the grumpy side of the local law enforcement. They haven’t forgotten Mr. Peters and would just as soon he not have shown up again.
Toby’s problem is that he has yet another famous client. This one tied to the circus, namely Ringling Brothers’ famous clown Emmett Kelly (who performs as Willie). It seems that someone’s been trying to kill off the circus elephants in the off-season show that Kelly has hooked up with.
By the time Peters arrives, the targets are not only the elephants, but Kelly himself, and then the flying Tannuccis begin to fall victim to the murderous plot.
Kaminsky gives us another page-turning puzzle of an adventure. This time he includes cameo appearances by great director Alfred Hitchcock “doing research” for a possible film set on a circus lot. It’s interesting that when Hitchcock shows up, so do the accidents. Peters employs his regular team of misfit helpers to help him solve this mystery before he’s either dead or incarcerated.
—Benjamin Potter, August 5, 2013