Created by Loren D. Estleman

If you miss Stuart Kaminsky’s movie trivia-packed Toby Peters series, boy, do we have a treat for you!

Private eye writer and film buff Loren Estleman‘s latest series, originally exclusive to EQMM, irelates the adventures and misadventures of film detective VALENTINO, who works an archivist for UCLA’s Film Preservation Department.

His job? Track down rare (and therefore valuable) films. Hmmm… does Eddie Muller know this guy?

It’s an amusing and fresh spin on the amateur sleuth, whose day job actually does involve quite a bit of detective work. There’s even a wise-cracking battleship of a secretary at the university to give Valentino a certain amount of grief. And I love the idea of him living at The Oracle, an abandoned movie theatre he’d bought, rather than see it razed.

Plus, Estleman knows how to inject just enough grit and guts into the story to wash away that cozy taste. Hell, this is the man who gave us Amos Walker, after all.

Okay, so occasionally the tongue-in-cheek spirit of the whole thing is sandbagged by one too many intrusions of film trivia, although A-type film buffs (like me!) will lap it up.

And Estleman himself is an A-type film buff, too, so at least Valentino comes by his obsessions honestly.

Not that the author spends all his time in darkened theatres, mind you. Estleman’s considered by many to be one of the best contemporary private eye writers around, best known for his series about the defiantly anachronistic Motor City gumshoe Walker, and he’s been nominated and won several Shamuses over the years. In fact, he’s probably the most Shamus-nominated writer of them all. He’s also responsible for the adventures of sleazeball P.I. Ralph Poteet, as well as a series that traces Detroit crime from the thirties to the present. And Estleman also writes westerns and has won the Western Writers of America’s Spur Award a couple of times.


  • “Break out the popcorn! Mystery fans and old-movie fanatics will love Frames. A delightful double feature of vintage Hollywood murder and hilarious present-day shenanigans. The snappy dialogue alone is worth the price of admission.”
    — Deborah Donnelly


  • “Dark Lady Down” (March 1998, EQMM)
  • “The Frankenstein Footage” (July 1998, EQMM)
  • “Director’s Cut” (December 1998, EQMM)
  • “The Man in the White Hat” (May 1999, EQMM)
  • “Picture Palace” (July 2000, EQMM)
  • “The Day Hollywood Stood Still” (March 2001, EQMM)
  • “Greed” (May 2002, EQMM)
  • “Bombshell” (August 2003, EQMM)
  • “Shooting Big Ed” (May 2005, EQMM)
  • “Garbo Writes” (February 2007, EQMM)
  • “The Profane Angel” (September/October 2007, EQMM)
  • “Wild Walls” (December 2007, EQMM)
  • “Preminger’s Gold” (July 2009, EQMM)
  • “The List” (May 2010, EQMM😉
  • “Admit One” (February 2014, EQMM)



Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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