Ed McBain's Columbo
"We have good reason to believe," he said stiffly, "that the fragment in
dead man's hand was part of a larger photograph showing the location of the
stolen money. We also have good reason to believe that you have another part
of that picture. And we want it. It's as simple as that." At first it looked
like a nice, neat double homicide -- until Detective Arthur Brown discovers that the
odd-shaped snapshot found clutched in the dead man's hand is a piece of a deadly puzzle
worth a suitcase full of stolen cash.
The men of the 87th have to find the other seven pieces -- fast! -- and as the stiffs pile
up, they realize they are dealing with a determined expert at the
game of murder!
"SO LONG AS YOU BOTH SHALL LIVE" (1976)
Detective Bert Kling was a very happy man. He had just married the very beautiful Augusta
Blair, in an elegant ceremony with hundreds of their friends present; it was his wedding
night; and Augusta was waiting for him now as soon as he got out of the shower.
Smiling, he opened the door. She was gone.
Kling wasn't alarmed. He'd been warned at the reception. There was a quaint
custom, he'd been told, of kidnapping the bride on her wedding night -- usually
not from her honeymoon suite, but the boys of the 87th Precinct were professionals.
You could expect them to be inventive. And then he noticed...the shoe, lying alone on its
side. And the sickeningly sweet smell...of chloroform. It was about that time that
Kling got alarmed.
Do the above plots, described on the books' dust-jackets, sound a bit familiar?
They should. These novels, from the best-selling "87th Precinct" series by
Ed McBain (Evan Hunter), were adapted many years later as "Columbo" episodes.
"Columbo" fans may have noticed that the episodes "Undercover"
and "No Time To Die" ("So Long As You Both Shall Live") have plots and
distinctly different from other "Columbo" stories.
For example, Undercover has Columbo...well,
undercover, shedding his familiar
outfit and wearing a number of different costumes (see Columbo: Out Of Uniform
sections in the Columbo Scrapbook) and even getting punched out (see Columbo Rarities). And No Time To Die, which has Columbo drawing his gun,
is not even about a murder case!
So if these episodes seem a bit strange or unique, it might be because they are the only
two stories not written originally for "Columbo".
Pictures from Jigsaw and Undercover.