BURIED CAESARS by Stuart M. Kaminsky


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Yet another 1940's episode for Hollywood shamus Toby Peters--with dandy wartime atmosphere, sporadic charm, silly-putty plotting, and (as always) celebrity guest-stars from the period. This time Peters' big-name client is would-be president Gen. Douglas A. MacArthur--who wants the narrator-hero to track down the general's civilian aide, one Andrew Lansing, now on the lam. Why? Because Lansing has with him $180,000 (from MacArthur's secret political war-chest) and, even worse, incriminating letters written by MacA.'s mistress! So Peters sets off in pursuit, with help from a new chance acquaintance: none other than Dashiell "Sam" Hammett, 48 and tubercular, but trying hard to enlist in the Army. (Part of his plan is to get his teeth fixed--by Peters' office-neighbor, hack dentist Shelly Minck.) And lots of violence ensues--because a wacko tycoon named Pintacki, who wants to take over the country (using MacArthur as a figurehead), is also after those politically explosive letters. The best stuff here by far is Peters' everyday, screwball-comedy world: anarchistic landlady Mrs. Plaut, dentist Shelly, et al., all sketched with ironic affection. The storytelling, however, is no more persuasive than usual; the MacArthur notion is strained (though less silly than many previous gimmicks); the Hammett cameo is annoyingly precious. In sum, then, the customary mixed bag, primarily for indulgent nostalgia buffs.

Pub Date: April 11th, 1989
ISBN: 89296-374-3
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