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Columbo: the Glitter Murder [Mass Market Paperback]

William Harrington

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Book Description

Jun 1998 Columbo
It seems obvious that famous motion-picture director Gunnar Svan was murdered during the course of a break-in robbery. Obvious to everyone that is, but Lieutenant Columbo, who always innocently asks "just one more little question." Imperfious to the dazzling lights of Hollywood, and the whims of its stars, Columbo methodically unravels the devious truth behind The Glitter Murder.

Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st Mass Market Ed edition (Jun 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812562739
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812562736
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 10.9 x 1.4 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,357,426 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"That rumpled raincoat is as convincing in the mind's eye as it is on the small screen."--"New York Daily News""Mr. Harrington seems to know everything....He knows how to write too...cleanly and unobtrusively, letting his material have its way."--"The New York Times Book Review"

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Amazon.com: 3.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not the Columbo We Know and Love 4 Jun 2006
By SylvesterFox007 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Usually, the moment the seemingly befuddled Lt. Columbo makes his subtle, unobtrusive entrance to a crime scene is a treat. In William Harrington's "The Glitter Murder", it's the moment the whole book goes downhill. The book opens in the tradition of the beloved TV series "Columbo", with the introduction of a soon-to-be-murderer. In this case, it's Ai-Ling Cooper-Svan, a respected magazine editor plotting against Gunnar Svan, an independent filmmaker and her louse of a husband, with the assistance of her psychologist and illicit lover. The murder plot and its execution are promising, but then Lt. Columbo is bluntly introduced into the plot, and Harrington's novel loses its entertainment value.

The problem is Harrington shows a very poor understanding of what made the Columbo series so popular. Firstly, the character of Columbo is all wrong. Part of what made Columbo so endearing on television was the sense that there was much more to him than there appeared. Harrington tries to understand what makes Columbo tick and fails. He gives readers a look inside Columbo's head, and it's disappointing to find out there's no more to his version of Columbo than we see on the surface. His Columbo wears the trench coat and smokes the cigars, but all of the traits that really made him entertaining are butchered here. Harrington even spoils the mystery of Mrs. Columbo's existence, one of the constant joys of the television series. The book seems truer to the series it was based on when Ai-Ling is present than whenever Columbo is.

Secondly, Harrington doesn't seem to grasp that Columbo is all about a cat-and-mouse game. He gives Columbo an intriguing opponent in the form of Ai-Ling Cooper-Svan, but then fails to bring them together more often than brief, periodic encounters throughout the novel, and when they are brought together, there's no chemistry between them. Instead, Harrington drags one unnecessary supporting character after another into the plot. Some contribute next to nothing to the plot, very few are intriguing, yet all have first and last names. The author also drags in worthless subplots involving molestation and prostitution. The emphasis should be on Columbo and the murderess.

Finally, Harrington's novel misses that one crucial, intangible element that made the series effective despite always revealing the killer in the beginning. Columbo always claimed to be overly thorough and methodical, but in actuality he was always perpetually hounding the one person he knew to be the guilty party. Harrington's Columbo prefers to spend most of his time discrediting red-herrings and false leads, something very frustrating when the reader already know the truth behind the mystery, something even more insufferable when Columbo reveals his suspicions early on in the novel but refuses to follow his instincts. Towards the end, Harrington even has the unflappable lieutenant second-guessing himself. Then, in what's meant to be the brilliant twist ending, Columbo catches his killer with a piece of evidence that doesn't hold up to scrutiny. As a final insult, Harrington tacks on an epilogue that belongs to an episode of "Dragnet", not "Columbo." Harrington has boiled the brilliant formula of the Columbo series into a dry police procedural less entertaining than the most sub par episodes of the "Columbo" TV series.
4.0 out of 5 stars Great but packaged badly! 3 Mar 2014
By Carole Griffith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
A terrific book for all Columbo lovers. The character is described with detail to his mannerisms. I hope to continue reading the rest of the series.

The book was expensive so I was disappointed with the way it was packaged. The cover was damaged and for a new book with the large price tag found it to be exasperating.
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Columbo! 15 Mar 2013
By Denise A. Edwards - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Have always loved the character of Columbo and the late Peter Falk who played the role so brilliantly. When I found this series, I knew I had to get the remaining books to complete the series.
2.0 out of 5 stars Another Expose of Show Business 19 Aug 2012
By Acute Observer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Columbo: The Glitter Murder, W. Harrington

"Columbo" was one of the most popular detective shows on TV. William Harrington was a former criminal lawyer who wrote these novels using this TV character. The best fiction is based true crime.

Ai-ling Cooper-Svan was Publisher and Editor-in-chief of `Glitz', a monthly style magazine that advertised luxuries for the wealthy and their admirers. Her husband Gunnar Svan is a movie director who is shooting a movie in Arizona. He is cheating his investors by taking kickbacks on inflated costs. His romantic antics disturb Ai-ling too. Is she mad enough to murder him? Gunnar has a smashing time at home. When Ai-ling returns she calls the police. Lt. Columbo is on the job again. [What about blood spatter evidence?] Columbo interviews the usual suspects to get their alibis. [The talk about shipping tea and silk from China does not mention the opium trade.]

Can evidence be planted in a locked car's trunk? A man tries to steal a car and is shot. Columbo learns about another crime, procuring. A mug shot is identified as a visitor of Gunnar. Columbo finds a link to a man who was found not guilty of murder. We hear about other crooked business dealings. A burglar was arrested. We hear the evidence against the people who were arrested. Are they safe in jail? Columbo says the murder weapon came from inside the house. The obvious suspect was arrested. The `Epilogue' provides the rest of the story. It is just what you might expect in real life.

For actual true crimes you should read some of Ann Rule's volumes. Most spousal murders are of the wife ("A Rose for Her Grave"). It seems unusual for a woman to use a violent method as in this story. Lizzie Borden didn't do it (forget that jingle). Does this story tell the truth about show business and magazine publishing? Harrington writes well, the story keeps moving, but I think his plots could be better.
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Opportunity to Enjoy Lieutenant Columbo 25 May 2012
By jiffy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I consider Lieutenant Columbo the best character in the history of television, and I love the series of books about him. In this book, as in all Columbo stories, we know the identity of the murderer from the beginning. We watch Ai-Ling Cooper-Svan, a wealthy Chinese-American magazine publisher, kill her movie-director husband, who was not only extremely unfaithful but was also stealing her money to reward his many paramours. The question, as always, is where did she slip up and how will Columbo catch her. The unusual aspect of this story is that there was no single smoking gun but rather a combination of many seemingly insignificant pieces of evidence that led to Ai-Ling's arrest. Also, even though Columbo knew whodunit, as he always does, he spent a lot of time eliminating other suspects instead of zooming in on Ai-Ling in his usual style. This book has its flaws, but I have to say I didn't care. I loved reading about Lieutenant Columbo, and I couldn't put it down.
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