STUART M. KAMINSKY – Poor Butterfly. Mysterious Press, 1990; paperback, 1991.

   Toby Peters, Kaminsky’s vintage private eye, is hired to find out who’s attempting to sabotage the reopening of the restored San Francisco Metropolitan Opera house.The year is 1942 and a major player is renowned conductor Leopold Stokowski who’s rehearsing the first production, Puccini’s “Madame Butterfly.”

   Toby drives to San Francisco and when it’s apparent he needs backup, he sends for his best friend, midget translator Gunther Wherthman, his chief muscle, ex-wrestler Jeremy Butler, and his landlord, dentist Sheldon Minck.

   To these colorful characters, add the mix at the opera house that includes a murderous Phantom (of the opera), an evangelical minster (Reverend Adam Souvaine) whose minions are picketing the opening protesting the scheduling of an opera with a Japanese subject, and a prima donna for whom Toby falls in a big way.

   This is feather light entertainment that is best savored before, during or after an afternoon nap. Short and light on substance but agreeable for a one time date.

Bibliographic Note:   This is number 15 of 24 books in Kaminsky’s Toby Peters series, written between 1997 and 2004. You can find a complete list here, along with covers for most if not all, along with lists of books in his several other series.