Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Book Review: Mildred Pierced

I love to read, and often spend my lunch hour with my nose in a good page turner. A few months ago I stumbled on a series of hardboiled-style detective novels set in 1940s Hollywood. Written by Stuart M. Kaminsky, the books star a detective named Toby Peters who always manages to find himself working on celebrity cases, none of which could ever be called run of the mill or straightforward. Mildred Pierced, the second to last book in the series, involves Joan Crawford, who is about to start working on a movie that she knows will put her back at the top—Mildred Pierce. Unfortunately, Ms. Crawford is the only witnesses to the death of inept dentist Sheldon Minck’s, wife—who just so happens to have been shot with an arrow while Sheldon is out practicing his archery skills. Ms. Crawford wants Toby Peters to get to the bottom of the mystery while keeping her name out of the papers—for such publicity would definitely put a wrench in her career plans! Sheldon, who rents a tiny space in his dentist office (torture chamber is the better term for it) to Toby, wants him to prove his innocence even though he was at the scene of the crime with crossbow in hand. The end result is a witty tale with just the right amount of twists and turns.

I find the Toby Peters series to be a fast reads with snappy, creative storylines. Kaminsky is an author who knows his history, especially Hollywood history, and that makes the series a good pick for retro lovers. I enjoy his detailed descriptions of people and places, which serve to bring the characters and stories to life very vividly, and I definitely appreciate an author who loves the past as much as I do!

Amanda Lee


  1. Another book I've got to get....I just started reading the Lew Archer novel The Moving Target by Ross MacDonald.

  2. I loooooove the movie!! I heard there might be a remake of it. But never read the book. thanks i would love to read it!!

  3. I really enjoy the series--the idea behind these is super creative!

    Miss Amethyst--this book isn't the same as the movie, which I do agree is a wonderful film. The title of it is a play on the title of the film--but if you enjoy retro detective stories like I do, you'll enjoy this one for sure :-)