STUART KAMINSKY
Creator of
Toby (Tobias Pevsner) Peters
Hollywood Detective


Stuart M. Kaminsky is the prolific, Edgar-winning aurthor of more than seventy novels, including ongoing series featuring Russian policeman Porfiry Rostnikov, Chicago cop Abe Lieberman, Jim Rockford of TV's Rockford Files, Florida P.I. Lew Fonesca, and 1940's Hollywood slueth Toby Peters. Kaminsky won the 1989 Edgar Allan Poe Award for the Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov novel A Cold Red Sunrise, the 1991 Shamus Award for the Toby Peters novel Poor Butterfly, as well as the 1990 Prix du Roman d'Aventures from France. He also found time to be a past president of the Mystery Writers of America.
In the Toby Peters novels, he and his older brother Phil grew up in Glendale, California. They both worked in their pop's grocery store, and they both grew up to become cops. But somewhere along the line, their paths diverged. Phil stayed with the cops, got married, got promoted, got kids, etc. Toby got into trouble. He got canned, got married, got divorced, got a job as security guard at Warner Brothers, got the boot by Jack Warner himself after Toby broke the arm of some cowboy star who "made the mistake of thinking he was as tough in person as on the screen". Down on his luck, running out of options, Toby set up shop as a private eye, not particularly fussy about the kind of cases he takes. Toby still carries a flame for Ann, his ex-wife; but has a thing for Carmen, a waitress; Brother Phil-Homicide cop, Wiltshire Police district; whose favorite means of dealing with Toby is slapping him around; Mrs. Plaut, Toby's deaf landlady who calls him Mr. Peepers; Jeremy, the sensitive, muscle-bound poet/janitor and former professional wrestler; Gunther, the multi-lingual midget, translator, and Toby's best friend; and Sheldon Minck, cigar-chomping, alcoholic, nearly-blind, incompetent, grubby dentist/oral surgeon who shares an office with Toby.
Kaminsky was one of the first writers to turn to period-piece PIs with his Toby Peters series. Much like the Nate Heller series from Max Allan Collins, who often touts his as the first historical private detective series, Kaminsky's Peters certainly preceded him. In these books Toby meets up with actual historical figures - in this case, from Hollywood. He's run into everyone from Mae West (He Done Her Wrong) to John Wayne (the wonderfully titled The Man Who Shot Lewis Vance) as he works the same beat that Robert Leslie Bellem's Dan Turner walked. Stuart's been cranking out books in this series for over twenty years. Kaminsky's easy blend of nostalgia, Hollywood trivia and detective fiction is easy to read. Kaminsky comes by his love of old films honestly. As well as a fan, he's a professor of film, and has written screenplays, and books on film theory and criticism. The books work well as good old-fashioned, b-movie entertainment. Not too heavy, straight-forward plots, full of colorful characters, who pop in and out of the series. You can just picture character actors playing these roles. If you love old movies, this series is a blast from the past.

Toby Peters Novels

  • Bullet for a Star
    Errol Flynn
    1977
  • Murder on the Yellow Brick Road
    Judy Garland
    1977
  • You Bet Your Life
    The Marx Brothers
    1978
  • The Howard Hughes Affair
    Howard Hughes
    1979
  • Never Cross a Vampire
    Bela Lugosi
    1980
  • High Midnight
    Gary Cooper
    1981
  • Catch a Falling Clown
    Emmett Kelly
    1981
  • He Done Her Wrong
    Mae West
    1983
  • The Fala Factor
    Eleanor Roosevelt
    1984
  • Down for the Count
    Joe Louis
    1985
  • The Man Who Shot Lewis Vance
    John Wayne
    1986
  • Smart Moves
    Albert Einstein
    1986
  • Think Fast, Mr. Peters
    Peter Lorre
    1987
  • Buried Caesars
    Douglas MacArthur
    1989
  • Poor Butterfly
    Leopold Stokowski
    1990
  • The Melting Clock
    Salvador Dali
    1991
  • The Devil Met a Lady
    Bette Davis
    1993
  • Tomorrow is Another Day
    Clark Gable
    1995
  • Dancing in the Dark
    Fred Astaire
    1996
  • A Fatal Glass of Beer
    W. C. Fields
    1997
  • A Few Minutes Past Midnight
    Charlie Chaplin
    2001
  • To Catch a Spy
    Cary Grant
    2002
  • Mildred Pierced
    Joan Crawford
    2003
  • Now You See It
    Harry Blackstone
    2004

  • Porfiry Rostnikov Novels

    Death of a Dissident
    (a.p.a. Rostnikov's Corpse)
    1981
    Black Knight in Red Square
    1983
    Red Chameleon
    1985
    A Fine Red Rain
    1987
    A Cold Red Sunrise
    1987
    The Man Who Walked Like a Bear
    1990
    Rostnikov's Vacation
    1991
    Death of a Russian Priest
    1992
    Hard Currency
    1995
    Blood and Rubles
    1996
    Tarnished Icons
    1997
    The Dog Who Bit a Policeman
    1998
    Fall of a Cosmonaut
    2000
    Murder on the Trans-Siberian Express
    2001
    People Who Walk In Darkness
    2008

    Abe Lieberman Novels

    Lieberman's Folly
    1990
    Lieberman's Choice
    1993
    Lieberman's Day
    1994
    Lieberman's Thief
    1995
    Lieberman's Law
    1996
    The Big Silence
    2000
    Not Quite Kosher
    2002
    The Last Dark Place
    2004
    Terror Town
    2006

    The Dead Don't Lie
    2007


    Lew Fonesca Novels

    Vengeance
    1999
    Retribution
    2001
    Midnight Pass
    2003
    Denial
    2005
    Always Say Goodbye
    2006
    Bright Futures
    2009

    James Rockford Novels

    The Green Bottle
    1996
    Devil on My Doorstep
    1998

    CSI: New York Novels

    Dead of Winter
    2005
    Blood on the Sun
    2006
    Deluge
    2007

    Kolchak: The Night Stalker Novels

    Fever Pitch
    2003
    Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Volume 1
    2004
    The Night Stalker Chronicles
    2005

    Non-Series Novels

    When the Dark Man Calls
    1983
    Exersise in Terror
    1985

    Biographies

    A Biographical Study
    of the Career of
    Donald Siegel
    and an Analysis of His Films
    1972
    Don Siegel:
    Director
    1974
    Clint Eastwood
    1974
    Ingmar Bergman:
    Essays in Criticism
    1975
    John Huston,
    Maker of Magic
    1978
    Coop:
    The Life and Legend of Gary Cooper
    1979

    Other Nonfiction

    American Film Genres
    1974
    Basic Filmmaking
    (with Dana Hodgdon)
    1981
    Writing for Television
    (with Mark Walker)
    1988
    American Television Genres
    (with Jeffrey Mahan)
    1991
    Behind the Mysteries
    (with Laurie Roberts)
    2005
    Police Procedure & Investigation
    (with Lee Lofland)
    2007