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Stuart M. Kaminsky Edit Profile

journalist , novelist , screenwriter , university professor , writer

Stuart M. Kaminsky, American screenwriter, writer. Named Grand Master, Mystery Writers of America, 2006.


Kaminsky, Stuart M. was born on September 29, 1934 in Chicago, Illinois, United States. Son of Leo and Dorothy Zelac Kaminsky.


Bachelor of Science in Journalism and Communications, University Illinois, 1957. Master of Arts in English Literature with honors, University Illinois, 1960. Doctor of Philosophy in Speech, Film-television, Theatre Arts, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, 1972.


He is known for three long-running series of mystery novels featuring the protagonists Toby Peters, a private detective in 1940s Hollywood. Inspector Porfiry Petrovich Rostnikov, a Moscow police inspector. And veteran Chicago police officer Abe Lieberman.

A later series followed Lew Fonesca, a process server from Sarasota, Florida. Kaminsky, who grew up in Chicago, earned a B.S. in journalism and an M.A. He taught film studies at Northwestern for 16 years, and then taught at Florida State for six years. Kaminsky's first novel was the 1977 Toby Peters mystery Bullet for a Star.

He went on to write over 60 novels, as well as story collections and nonfiction works. Kaminsky was a past president of the Mystery Writers of America. Besides being one of America's most prolific mystery writers, Kaminsky inspired many other writers in the genre, including fellow Chicagoan Sara Paretsky, who dedicated the first novel in her V. I. Warshawski private-eye series to Kaminsky.

He suffered a stroke two days after their arrival in St. Louis, which made him ineligible for a transplant. He died on October 9, 2009.


  • Kaminsky's Inspector Rostnikov novel A Cold Red Sunrise received the 1989 Edgar Award for Best Novel. He earned six other Edgar nominations, most recently for the 2005 non-fiction book Behind the Mystery: Top Mystery Writers Interviewed, which was also nominated for an Anthony Award, a Macavity Award, and an Agatha Award. In 2006 Kaminsky received the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America.



Program chairman, co-artistic director, board member Sarasota French Film Festival. Chair Festival of Jewish Films, Sarasota, Florida, since 1998. Past board member Chicago Film Festival Board, Illinois Arts Council, National Endowment Humanities, council for International Exchange of Scholars, Florida Media Arts Council, Enzian Theater.

With United States Army, 1957-1959, France, Germany. Member Society for Cinema Studies, University Film and Video Association, Mystery Writers American (president 1998), International Association Crime Writers (United States delegate International board meeting in Moscow, 1991), Crime Writers Association of Europe, Private Eye Writers of America, Popular Culture/American Culture Association, Writers Guild of America.


  • Other Interests

    Coaching childrens soccer and basketball.


Married Merle Gordon, August 11, 1959 (divorced September 1986). Children: Peter, Toby, Lucy. Married Enid Lisa Perll, January 7, 1987.

1 child, Natasha.

Leo Kaminsky

Dorothy Zelac Kaminsky

Merle Gordon

Enid Lisa Perll

Peter Kaminsky

Toby Kaminsky

Lucy Kaminsky

Natasha Kaminsky