A dentist dangles from the window of a swanky Park Avenue hotel, while Toby Peters, a Los Angeles detective who's very far from home, clutches the man by his jacket, which is tearing slowly, stitch by stitch. Across the room, a dead man lies on the bed, his killer pounding on the hotel room door, which sounds like it's going to give way as quickly as the dentist's jacket. Somehow, this entire mess is Albert Einstein's fault.
Two nefarious groups have been threatening the great physicist. One is a ring of blackmailers who claim to have evidence that he has been passing nuclear secrets to Russia. The other, a gang of Nazi assassins intent on doing away with one of the most famous threats to the Third Reich. Einstein hires Toby Peters to solve both problems, his life dependent on Peters being smarter, at least in this case, than he is.
What would have made Smart Moves better?
IDK, and I'm not sure that Mr. Kaminsky had any decent ideas, either. This whole Toby Peters series just baffles me. The other three series: Abe Lieberman, Lew Fonesca and Porfiry Rostnikov; these are all funny, endearing, have primary characters who are real persons with real lives and serious concerns about life and death, etc. Toby Peters is a cartoon, and he's not even funny.
Has Smart Moves turned you off from other books in this genre?
Yes, from the Toby Peters series for sure. Not at all from the other three, which are some of the finest detective writing anywhere and at any time. And to think that he wrote a book a year for FIFTY YEARS! What a remarkable man. So he must have believed that Toby was worth reading about, a taste that I do not share. I have tried to read about four of these books, to give Toby his due, and I didn't enjoy any of them. He's buddies with Cary Grant? Ooooooh! Salvador Dali? Ooooh-oooooh! Mildred Pierce? Please. This name dropping is so below Mr. Kaminsky that I really can't believe he is stooping to do it. He has too much talent to waste it on this silly stuff.
Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Stephen Bowlby?
I don't care. I don't think anyone could rescue this flimsy material.
What character would you cut from Smart Moves?
Another I don't care.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Love these stories. Love the appearances of historical characters. Generally like the supporting characters. But a little of the dentist goes a long way. In this book, there was, unfortunately, a great deal of the whining dentist.￼