Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Columbo Makes His Entrance

This seems to have been a very long time in coming. I first mentioned Crippen & Landru’s The Columbo Collection (originally titled The Columbo Stories) back in February 2009, when I saw it listed quietly among that independent publisher’s forthcoming books. This assemblage of short stories featuring fictional Los Angeles Police Lieutenant Columbo, written by William Link, who with Richard Levinson created NBC-TV’s beloved 1970s series Columbo, had once been scheduled for release late last year. But with author Link due to receive the Poirot Award at the Malice Domestic conference beginning later this month, publication was reset to coincide with that much-anticipated occasion.

According to a brand-new listing on the Amazon sales site, The Columbo Collection--274 pages long and $18 per copy--is finally due to go on sale May 10. Here’s the product description:
JUST ONE MORE THING: Lieutenant Columbo--short, unkempt, shapeless raincoat flapping open, unlit cigar in his hand-- turns towards the murderer who is certain that this undistinguished plainclothesman will never see through his perfect crime. Then--just one more thing and the murderer realizes that his murder plot has unraveled. Columbo, played by the marvelous Peter Falk, appeared as a made-for-television movie in 1968, then the long-running series [beginning] in 1971, and kept coming back over the decades. One of the finest detective series ever to appear on television, Columbo was created by William Link and his late collaborator Richard Levinson. With The Columbo Collection, Link has written 12 brilliant new stories in which murderers try to get away with murder but come up against the rumpled but unflappable Lieutenant Columbo.
There were originally supposed to be 14 stories in this volume, but Crippen & Landru editor Doug Greene tells me that “for various reasons, Bill [Link] and I omitted two of the stories. The book will have only 12.”

Those omissions should do nothing to spoil my delight. I look forward to holding a copy of The Columbo Collection in my hands.

By the way, if the jacket of this book looks familiar, it’s because the caricature of Falk as Link and Levinson’s single-monikered sleuth is quite famous. Created by the late Al Hirschfeld, it appeared originally on the cover of the August 14, 1976, edition of TV Guide (shown on the right).

READ MORE:Bringing Columbo to the Printed Page,” by J. Kingston Pierce (The Rap Sheet).

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