He's a detective on television and also on the printed page. He's Lieutenant Columbo, the first-name-challenged police lieutenant who first appeared on TV in 1960 but who really soared to popularity when actor Peter Falk began playing the part in 1968. Now, he's the star of "The Columbo Collection," by William Link, who was the co-creator and writer of the television series. The anthology from the publishing house of Crippen & Landru is reviewed this week on the Classic Mysteries podcast, and you can listen to the full review here.
The Columbo mysteries are all in the "inverted mystery" format. As in the TV series, each story begins with a crime and a criminal known to the reader. We then follow Columbo as he investigates and traces the crime back to the right person. As Link says, they're not so much "whodunits" as "howcatchems."
The stories are great fun; as you read the dialogue, you can practically hear the lines as they would have been read by Peter Falk. The inverted mystery is a fine, classic form, and these stories are terrific examples. They're excellent reads, whether you followed Columbo on TV or not.