Kaminsky was probably best known for his lighthearted Toby Peters mysteries, set amid the singers, stars and other celebrities of Hollywood's Golden Age, and the Inspector Rostnikov series, set in Russia. (I believe he wrote at least the first of these before ever visiting the country.) He also wrote television tie-ins, stand-alone novels, and several books about American movie figures.
I especially liked two of his other series. The news of Kaminsky's death comes by way of Sarah Weinman. Here's a comment I left on her blog:
Someone recently commented that female crime authors write happily married protagonists more than men do.(To clear up a frequent faux-pas and to facilitate searches if you try to track down Kaminsky's work, Fonesca is the correct spelling in the preceding paragraph. The character's name is frequently misspelled Fonseca.)
Kaminsky’s Abe Lieberman is not just happily, lovingly married, he’s a grandparent. He’s also a detective unafraid to use violence when he has to, and he’s Jewish. That’s not a typical combination. More to the point, the religion and culture are not mere ethnic window dressing. They figure prominently in some of the stories. Lieberman has to be one of the more underrated characters in American crime fiction.
And Lew Fonesca springs from one of the more beguiling premises I know of. How can you not love a character who hits the road after his wife dies, settles in Sarasota, because that’s where his car conks out, lives in his office, and hangs out at the Dairy Queen?
© Peter Rozovsky 2009
Labels: Stuart Kaminsky