Monday, October 19, 2009

Stuart M. Kaminsky

Stuart M. Kaminsky, an author I admire, died last week. Age 75.

Although I'm sad there will not be any new books by him, he wrote a heck of a lot of books. His obituaries mention "more than 70" books. And I haven't read them all yet. So I have to thank him for his astonishing productivity.

He wrote mysteries. Four different series, basically.

Toby Peters mysteries set in 1930s-40s Hollywood. The detective does work for movie stars. For a fan of old movies these are wonderful. Kaminsky was an expert on movies -- he taught university classes about film in Chicago and Miami -- and his love of movies is obvious in the Peters books.

Abe Leiberman mysteries set in Chicago. An old cop. I don't remember much about these books, but they are enjoyable.

Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov mysteries set in Russia. These are my favorites. So foreign and yet still recognizable murder mysteries. Full of insights into repression and bureaucracy.

Lew Fonesca mysteries set in Sarasota, Florida. A process-server who sleepwalks through his life. He's depressed. But it's not depressing to read because through his ability to solve problems he keeps acquiring friends.

One thing I have to mention here is how funny Kaminsky's books are. Even the ones set in depressing Russia and the ones about the old cop and the ones about the depressed guy in Florida. Funny!

For me, picking up one of Kaminsky's books is the start of a visit with cherished friends.

Thank you, Stuart M. Kaminsky.

1 comment:

Daughter Number Three said...

It always amazes me that there can be an author like this whom I have never heard of. But it's exciting at the same time, because it means there's a whole pile of books waiting for me.

It sounds like Mr. Kaminsky will be remembered by many.