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Joe Tuffy

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Books by Joe Tuffy
Meet our newest member for the Woburn Writers Group
By Joe Tuffy
Last edited: Tuesday, June 15, 2004
Posted: Friday, August 29, 2003

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Joe Tuffy

• Joe Tuffy Tofuri on R. Lee Ermey
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This Private detective and now published author has been making several public appearances including radio talk shows.

Meet our newest Woburn Writer Group list member, Joe Tofuri:


by Marie Coady

In spite of the fact he’s lived some thirty years in San Antonio, Texas, no one qualifies more as a native Woburnite than Joe “Tuffy” Tofuri. Tofuri was not only raised in the South End section of Woburn, he was born at the Choate Hospital, and proudly proclaims to be a “full-blooded Italian”.

Tofuri attended the long since vanished McGarr School on Fowle Street and still remembers having the legendary Bertha Bain as a teacher. In fact, he remembers her as “a wonderful teacher” as well as “a wonderful human being”.

After Joe graduated from Woburn High School in 1961 he entered the Air Force, served with them in Vietnam and stayed on to make the Air Force his career. After 22 years of military service he retired in 1983 and settled in San Antonio, Texas where he had been stationed.

But after working with a growing company for a few years, quite by chance he was hired by a private detective agency in San Antonio. In December of 1991, he worked a case that took him all the way from Dallas, TX to the state of Maine. In a strange twist of fate, that case changed the course of his life and brought him back to Woburn.

“I flew to Boston and drove all the way to Maine as part of my investigative duties and since it was the Christmas season, I stopped in Woburn on the way back to spend time with my family. As a result of that visit, I eventually returned to Woburn to open my own detective agency.”

Tofuri’s detective agency, Advanced & Private Investigations, was and still is located at 21 Montvale Avenue. If you’ve ever been stopped long enough at the traffic light at the corner of Montvale and Main you’ve probably noticed the barely visible sign that marks its location.

That was in April of 1992, and after placing an ad in the Yellow Pages it didn’t take long for the phone to start ringing. As a Massachusetts licensed private detective Tofuri handled anywhere from 15 to 20 cases a month uncovering leads that sometimes connected one case to another.

One example of that phenomenon is the case that took him on a search for a “mysterious briefcase” reportedly stolen by a “biker” gang in Lynn. One of the clues in that case led him to an eyewitness being sought in a vehicular homicide case.

In another case, Tofuri was retained by a wealthy businessman whose son had been kidnapped, and the trail led Tofuri to come face to face with the kidnapper who turned out to be a well known drug dealer in Boston’s North End who went by the name of “Tony Boy”.

Although those two cases were close to home, much of Tofuri’s work took him all over. “Actually my work covered the entire US,” Tofuri said recently. “I also had some private detectives in Rome and other European countries with whom I shared information. My work didn’t always stay close to home. You can’t always predict which direction an investigation will go. You have to go where the leads take you.”

In many cases, Tofuri discovered the search for truth became anything but. In fact, the cases he writes about in his book involving domestic abuse, assault and battery and one vehicular homicide case in particular involving a small child are perfect examples in which truth became a casualty. It was those kinds of cases that discouraged him and prompted him to sell his business to his partner, Mike Garrigan, before it destroyed what was left of his belief in the judicial system.

So it was that in 2001, Tofuri once again settled in San Antonio and married his longtime girlfriend, Sandra Bishop. Now with time on his hands he began thinking that he’d like to write a book about what it’s really like to be a private eye.

“I wanted to write a book,” Tofuri said in a recent interview, “about what private detective work was really like from the point of view of a real private detective. I’m not Spencer for Hire. I didn’t whip out my gun, grab people by the throat and threaten them with it. Most of my work wasn’t glamorous. Most of the time it was mundane stuff like looking up records and following leads.”

Finally, Tofuri had the time to review all the notes he had accumulated during his fifteen-year career as a PI, combine them with some of his most vivid memories and set it all down on paper. The result is Joe “Tuffy” Tofuri’s just released book, The Ninth Commandment: Thou Shall Not Bear False Witness.

Some things about the book’s release surprised Tofuri, “One of the things I didn’t think would happen is that the book would go over big with women, but the majority of comments I’ve received about my book are from women”. And that is most evident when you access the comments made about his book at and

Of some fifteen four-star reviews that appear on those sites 9 are from women like Brenda in Mississippi who said, “This book completely eliminated any thoughts of a bathroom break! His characters are purely wonderful. It won’t be long before people all over the country are talking about “Tony Boy” and “Vinny the T”. A great read!”

Comments like these, as well as his family ties to Woburn, draw Joe Tofuri back to this area to meet his fans and interest new ones in his book, The Ninth Commandment: Thou Shall Not Bear False Witness. Tofuri will be appearing at TGIF in Woburn for a book signing on Thursday, March 20th, 6-9 pm, and at Book Ends in Winchester Center on Saturday, March 22nd 1-3 pm. You can also catch him at the Barnes & Nobles in Nashua, NH on Friday, March 21st, 7:30-10:30 pm, and Salem, NH on Sunday March 23rd 12:30-3:30 pm

But above all, be sure to make one of his public appearances. You won’t be disappointed.

Web Site Joe "Tuffy" Tofuri

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