Friday, October 16, 2009

R.I.P. Stuart Kaminsky 1934-2009

Long-time best-selling American mystery author Stuart Kaminsky died October 9th, 2009 in St. Louis, MO, where he had moved (from Chicago) earlier this year in hopes of receiving a liver transplant. His liver had been failing due to hepatitis-c, which he had contracted while serving as an Army medic in the 1950s, however he suffered a stroke shortly after arriving in St. Louis, making him ineligible for the transplant.

Kaminsky was an extremely prolific author, producing an average of two or more new books per year. He had over 60 novels to his credit at the time of his death. Kaminsky is probably best known for his Toby Peters series, featuring a struggling P.I. in late 1930s and 1940s Hollywood. These novels featured cameos or full-fledged "guest appearances" by renowned figures in the entertainment industry -- in Kaminsky's first novel, 1977's Bullet for a Star, Toby's client is a blackmailed Errol Flynn.

Kaminsky also had three other regular series: Abe Lieberman -- a contemporary series featuring a 60-something Jewish Chicago cop (starting in 1991); Lew Fonesca, a depressive process server in Sarasota, Florida (starting in 1999); and Porfiry Rostnikov, starring a thoughtful Moscow detective, which began in the Soviet era (1981) and continued to modern times. Kaminsky also wrote a pair of Rockford Files tie-in novels in the 1990s, showing what aging P.I. Jim Rockford would have been like 15+ years after the tv series (1974-1980) ended.

In addition to his mystery fiction, Kaminsky also wrote screenplays and books about the film industry -- he had received a doctorate in film studies from Northwestern in 1972, and subsequently taught both there and at Florida State University in their film studies programs.
Kaminsky has one or more books which will be published posthumously.

Wikipedia page for Stuart Kaminsky (with complete list of credits)

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