Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Howard Hughes Affair – Stuart Kaminsky

Stuart Kaminsky has been writing for years. One of his favorite series features 1940s LA private investigator, Toby Peters. The Howard Hughes Affair is the fourth in the series. In each story Toby meets and works with someone famous. This one is no different.

This time, Toby finds himself employed by the elusive (reclusive?) Howard Hughes. Hughes hosts a pre-War dinner gathering staged to raise support for the impending war effort and his own production of a plane he believes will end the war. He is afraid that one of the guests or servants present has stolen the plans. Working with one of the guests, Basil Rathbone (known by multitudes as Sherlock Holmes), to interview all those present in hopes to determine if Hughes’ fears are well-founded.

Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel was also at the dinner party, but he has no knowledge of the theft. The German couple, as well as the German and Japanese servants seem to be innocent and guilty at the same time. On the eve of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Toby discovers the truth about the murder of two Germans and one drunken major in the Army Air Corps.

As with all good mystery series, Kaminsky includes intrigue and action. The one drawback for a reader like me is that the chapters are long. The story moves and closes with a glimpse of the next one to come.

If you like a good murder mystery, nostalgic settings and names from Hollywood’s heyday, you’ll love reading any of the Toby Peters mysteries. If you want the story broken up into bite-sized pieces, then read something else.

—Benjamin Potter, May 16, 2007

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