Created by Sarah Weinman
Once upon a time, in 2005, the Divine Ms. Sarah Weinman, the Crime Fiction Sweetheart of the Internet and the Queen of the Blogs (cf: Confessions of an Idosyncratic Mind), made her long-awaited Thrilling Detective Web Site fiction debut with “Out of Clay,” a sly piece of whimsy which introduced STUART KOVACS, a New York private eye with one hell of a partner.
Trust me, Stuart’s not your average shamus. He may be the weirdest new eye Id come across in a good long while, but definitely the gumshoe to go to when things ain’t kosher.
Oh, sure, at first Stuart seems like just another nice Jewish boy, just a little bit younger, a little more urban and a little more, uh, hormonal than that Mrs. Cooperman’s boy (No, not Sam the doctor… the younger one, you know, Benny). But Stuart has a darker side.
You see, Stuart’s possessed. By a demon. A Jewish demon. A couple of centuries-old Jewish demon called Malakh. One who delights in making Stuart spout strings of obscenity-laden invective and perform other inappropriate acts at the most inopportune times.
Fortunately, as his demonalogist (in New York, we are told, you can get a license for anything) explains to him, trying to console him, Stuart has “the lowest grade” of dybbuk, one who’s “a bit of a trickster. Loves the idea of saying many dirty words in a row. If it weren’t for the fact that possessed people look a bit different, you could pass yourself off as having Tourette’s.”
But Stuart’s not exactly overjoyed at “the whole demonic possession thing.” Eventually he and Malakh come to an understanding of sorts, and Stuart, reluctantly, learns to live with a demon for company, even going to movies or baseball games occasionally.
And Malakh, despite his contrariness and disdain for mortal, sure comes in handy with the bizarre sort of cases, usually involving some of the more arcane aspects of Jewish mythology, that Stuart’s recently been finding himself caught up in. Stuart (and Malakh) appeared in one more story for us, and then ppfffttt.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Yet somehow, the author managed to keep busy. Our pal (and even a former Montrealer), Weinman has written true crime (The Real Lolita: A Lost Girl, An Unthinkable Crime, and a Scandalous Masterpiece), edited anthologies (Unspeakable Acts: True Tales of Crime, Murder, Deceit & Obsession, Women Crime Writers: Eight Suspense Novels of the 1940s & 50s and Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives, and has written for The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, New York, The Wall Street Journal, and other publication. Her short fiction, meanwhile, has not just graced these pages, but also Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and a whole bunch of anthologies. After she closed down her Confessions of an Idosyncratic Mind blog, she started up the Crime Lady newsletter. In early 2021, it was announced she will be the new crime columnist for The New York Times Book Review, and as the Times so aptly put it, she was the most obvious suspect.
- “Out of Clay” (January 2006, Thrilling Detective Web Site)
- “The Dybbuk Made Me Do It” (Autumn 2006, Thrilling Detective Web Site)