Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Stuart M. Kaminsky  

Pen Name: None


Born: December 16, 1931 in Chicago, Illinois


Illinois Connection


Biographical and Professional Information

Stuart Melvin Kaminsky was born in Chicago on Sept. 29, 1934. Entering the University of Illinois on a soccer scholarship, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1957, followed by a master’s in English literature in 1959. In 1972, he received a doctorate in film studies from Northwestern University, writing his dissertation on the director Don Siegel.Joining the Northwestern faculty, Mr. Kaminsky taught film there until 1989. Afterward, he was the first director of the Graduate Film Conservatory at Florida State University, a position he held till 1994, when he left academia to write full time.The author of more than 60 crime novels, Mr. Kaminsky typically wrote two or more books a year.A longtime resident of Sarasota, Fla., Mr. Kaminsky moved to St. Louis in March to await a liver transplant. Shortly after moving there, he had a stroke, making him ineligible for the transplant.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Blood and Rubles
ISBN: 0449909492

Ballantine Books. 1996

Used - Acceptable

The Rockford Files: The Green Bottle
ISBN: 0312862296

Forge. 1996

A classic Rockford case involves retrieving stolen property, locating a cat for an eccentric, wealthy old lady, thugs out to rearrange Rockford's anatomy, and a hunt that turns deadly when a beautiful woman in search of Hollywood fame turns up missing.

A Fatal Glass of Beer
ISBN: 0892966300

Mysterious Pr. 1997

A Fatal Glass of Beer

Devil on My Doorstep (Rockford Files)
ISBN: 0312864442

Forge. 1998

The second title in this series returns readers to the 1970s classic television series in which James Garner starred as the likable detective, Jim Rockford. By the Edgar Award-winning author of the Inspector Rostnikov and Toby Peters mysteries. 15,000 first printing.

Vengeance: A Lew Fonesca Mystery (Lew Fonesca Novels)
ISBN: 0812575180

Forge Books. 2000

Three years ago Lew Fonseca quit his job as a process server with the State Attourney's Office in Cook County, Illinois, and drove his rattling Toyota south to escape the memories of his beloved late wife. Headed for Key West, the Toyota broke down in a Dairy Queen parking lot in Sarasota, Florida. Buoyed by the friendship of a few trustworthy souls, Lew settled there, making ends meet by doing some investigative work for local attourneys.

Now, Lew is hired by Carl Sebastian, one of Lew's lawyer's clients, to find his missing wife. Following up on a few leads, Lew finds himself being trailed by a mysterious burly man, and saddled with another missing person case -- this time a runaway teen. With the help of some friends, Lew seems to be getting closer and closer to Melanie -- but will he find her before the unthinkable happens?

Fall of a Cosmonaut
ISBN: 0892966688

Mysterious Press. 2000

Fall of a Cosmonaut

Mildred Pierced: A Toby Peters Mystery
ISBN: 0786711825

Carroll & Graf. 2003

That down-at-the-heels gumshoe Toby Peters again proves to be “an unblemished delight,” as the Washington Post Book World put it, while his creator, Stuart M. Kaminsky, continues to “make the totally wacky possible” in a zany new Hollywood adventure. Having survived the hire of such movie luminaries as Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, Charlie Chaplin, and Cary Grant, tinsel-town detective Toby finds himself in the employ of an edgy Joan Crawford. Actually, Toby needs Miss Crawford as much as she needs him. His longtime friend and office mate, the mad dentist Sheldon Minck, has been jailed for murder—the victim, his estranged wife, Mildred

the motive, a $200,000 inheritance

the weapon, a crossbow. Only Miss Crawford, the single witness to the crime, can attest to hapless Minck’s innocence. But the former MGM movie queen has just been offered her first film in two years, as the title character in Mildred Pierce, so she is anxious to avoid unpleasant publicity that could cost her the role. So it’s up to Toby to solve the crime, save Minck, and thus keep Miss Crawford’s famous name out of the daily papers.

Midnight Pass: A Lew Fonesca Mystery
ISBN: 0765304627

Forge Books. 2003

Lew Fonesca is a guy just trying to get along. When his wife died in a senseless auto wreck, he got up and left his old life--and when his car gave out in sunny Sarasota, Florida, he stayed. He takes small process-serving gigs and various odd jobs helping people out, and he tries, although maybe not as hard as he should, to fix the gaping hole in his heart.

But for a man who just wants to ease through life without any complications, Lew has a pretty full plate. The shrink that Lew's been seeing for more than a year wants him to finally dump all the grief that he's carrying around so he can have more than a half-life. And Sally, the pretty single mom and social worker who has helped Lew in the past, wants to deepen their friendship. On top of that, a local minister asks him to find a town council member who has gone missing just before a crucial vote that could ruin a struggling community, and a distraught father comes to Lew to track down his wife and two kids, who Lew suspects ran off with the man's best friend.

When people start showing up dead, Lew knows he's in way over his head--and this time he may not be able make it all come out okay.

The Cold War Swap
ISBN: 0312315813

Minotaur Books. 2003

At the height of the Cold War, two Americans are runnng a bar in the West German capital, called Mac's place. One of the pair, Michael Padillo, isn't around a lot

he keeps disappearing on "business trips." McCorkle, his partner, wisely doesn't ask questions

he knows Padillo has a second job -- he's a (reluctant) US agent. But McCorkle is ready to answer a call for help from Padillo, and he joins his friend in a blind journey with no inkling of what they will encounter at the turn of each dark and dangerous corner.

The Last Dark Place: An Abe Lieberman Mystery (Abe Lieberman Mysteries)
ISBN: 0765304635

Forge Books. 2004

One of Stuart M. Kaminsky's most memorable characters, Abe Lieberman is a veteran detective who uses his head and heart more than his gun. Lieberman loves what he does and this takes a toll as his commitment to what is right is sorely tested every day on the mean streets of Chicago. As a moral man, he is sometimes faced with uncomfortable ethical choices in order to see that justice--rather than the letter of the law-is meted out.

With The Last Dark Place, Lieberman and his Irish partner Bill Hanrahan, known on the streets as the Rabbi and the Priest, have their hands full with dark matters both professional and personal.

Lieberman goes to Arizona on an extradition case to pick up a mob enforcer that goes horribly awry when the man he is slated to bring back is gunned down at the airport. He comes back from this disaster determined to find out who arranged the hit, and explain to his superiors just how he could have let this happen on his watch.

And there's the little matter of pulling off Lieberman's grandson's bar mitzvah, which threatens to bankrupt him.

While Lieberman is away, Hanrahan has his hands full. Coupled with a temporary partner who is racist, sexist and a general bane of human existence, Hanrahan has to deal with a rape case involving the young wife of a fellow police officer. Hanrahan must race to find the culprits because he knows homicidal rage when he sees it and knows that it is only a matter of time before the officer takes the law into his own hands.

And then there's a young man who dreams of being a star...or killing one to get the notoriety.

People Who Walk In Darkness: An Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov Mystery (Inspector Rostnikov)
ISBN: 0765318873

Forge Books. 2009

After a very long absence, Forge is delighted to be bringing back one of Edgar-Award winning Stuart Kaminsky's best loved characters, Inspector Porfiry Petrovich Rostnikov. Rostnikov is a Russian bear of a man, an honest policeman in a very dishonest post-Soviet Russia. Known as "The Washtub," Rostnikov is one of the most engaging and relevant characters in crime fiction, a sharp and caring policeman as well as the perfect tour guide to a changing (that is, disintegrating) Russia. Surviving pogroms and politburos, he has solved crimes, mostly in spite of the powers that rule his world.

In People Who Walk in Darkness, Rostnikov travels to Siberia to investigate a murder at a diamond mine, where he discovers an old secret…and an even older personal problem. His compatriots head to Kiev on a trail of smuggled diamonds and kidnapped guest workers, and what they discover leads them to a vast conspiracy that not only has international repercussions but threatens them on a very personal level.

People Who Walk in Darkness is a fast-paced novel of modern Russia told by one of mystery's finest storytellers.

Bright Futures: A Lew Fonesca Mystery
ISBN: 0765318288

Forge Books. 2009

Lovable everyman Lew Fonesca, the Man Who Makes Things Work in Sarasota, is once again faced with cases that try his patience and test his sanity.

A local curmudgeon who has been campaigning to end state-sponsored school funding

is brutally killed.

A recent graduate of a public high school for the gifted is arrested for the crime and turns to Lew for help.


semi-retired and much beloved singer of children's songs is being anonymously pushed to leave Sarasota, threatened with exposure as

a sexual predator. It is up to Lew to uncover the blackmailer and determine whether there is any truth to the accusation.

Lew has decided that life is worth more than just going through the motions. But will the good life that Lew so richly deserves elude him as he

uncovers some very sad truths? His final choice--do the right thing and see his happiness evaporate... or betray a trust and

stay happy…

A Whisper to the Living (Inspector Rostnikov)
ISBN: 0765318881

Forge Books. 2010

A Whisper to the Living (Inspector Rostnikov)


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