Joined by his recently retired brother Phil Pevsner, 1940s p.i. Toby Peters (Mildred Pierced, 2003, etc.) proves that the hand really isn’t quicker than the eye when he plays bodyguard to a famous magician.
Harry Blackstone isn’t so much scared as piqued by anonymous threats to sabotage his act unless he reveals the secrets of his illusions. But just to make sure his lovely assistant doesn’t really get sawed in half, he hires Pevsner and Peters to check things out backstage. Sure enough, a vital safety switch goes missing from Blackstone’s buzz saw, forcing Toby to make a daring last-minute rescue—only to find blackmailing con man Robert R. Cunningham shot to death in a dressing room. As the threats continue, suspicion falls on rival conjurer Calvin Ott, who under his stage name Marcus Keller arranges a testimonial dinner for Blackstone and offers to present the diners with “the death of a magician.” Unfortunately for Ott, the dead magician turns out to be him. So Toby and Phil, along with four-foot-tall Gunther Wherthman, ex-wrestler Jeremy Butler, and demented dentist Sheldon Minck, all have to sweat in their rented tuxedos while the LAPD’s John Cawelti tries to establish who saw what in a room full of illusionists.
The Peters entourage, barreling ahead full tilt, provides just enough insanity to enliven a routine whodunit.