Read on for why.
The Toby Peters novels predate the Rostnikov novels by several years (Kaminski's first two novels, I now know, Kaminski continued to write about the character until his passing in 2009). Written in a very different style than I'm used to from Kaminski, this work is both lighter and in a way, more entertaining as far as I'm concerned.
The year is 1940, the place is Los Angeles, and Toby Peters is both a former cop and former trouble-shooter for Warner Brothers, now turned private eye. Called to MGM (Metro Goldwyn-Meyer) by none other than Judy Garland, Peters is tasked with investigating the murder of one of the little people who played a Munchkin in the film adaptation of Oz, over a year after the film has wrapped, all while being charged with keeping it quiet to avoid damaging the studio's reputation.
As I mentioned, the tone of the book is very light and the pace brisk. Toby Peters is a typical wisecracking, underpaid P.I., and both he and the book remind me of a lighter version of Max Allan Collins's Nate Heller mysteries, as both are filled with real locations and people (including Clark Gable, Raymond Chandler and others), though of course the events in this novel are entirely fictional.
I don't need to go too much into the plot, as it's more functional than anything else, but as I said, the tone is light, the pace is brisk, the dialogue is often funny and I enjoyed it a great deal. There's something like two-dozen of these mysteries and I plan to read more at some point in the future. It'll be interesting to see how the books evolve over the 30 plus years Kaminski was writing.
Recommended if you see copies!