"His tie is askew. His third-day shirt has ring-around-the-collar. His thick, wavy clump of hair overhangs eyes screwed tight in a lopsided squint, a brow that is permanently furrowed and a leathery puss smudged with unshaven stubble...he looks like an ambulatory cypress stump in baggy brown pants. And the raincoat. The raincoat is an oversized, unhung affair in the last stages of decomposition, scarred and seasoned with the grease of a thousand fingers."
Who chisled out this mighty prose that so deftly paints such an evocative portrait of a protagonist? Steinbeck? Faulkner? No, although you could be forgiven for thinking so. It was written by a titan named Alfred Lawrence in 1972, and is excerpted from "Columbo #1", a paperback novelization of a "Columbo" episode I recently bought in Denver for a quarter. "Columbo" was a fine show for its time, and I look forward to reading the read of the 126-page tome (the excerpt above is the 1st paragraph of the book! Talk about starting with a bang).
My favorite part? That's easy: "...he looks like an ambulatory cypress stump in baggy brown pants." Beautiful.