The overriding question in Harrington's third Columbo saga (Columbo: The Helter Skelter Murders, 1994, etc.) is not who killed tawdry superstar Regina, drowned in her Beverly Hills swimming pool, but who is the old man living in her mansionthe one she slept with most nights and called Grandpa? Regina's killer is known to the reader from the start: Mickey Newcastle, onetime British rock star, gifted creator of the shows for no-talent Regina that propelled her to iconhood. Now a worn-out junkie, Mickey takes orders from Johnny Corleone, once Regina's designated houseboy and sometime lover, whose own past is a bit murky. All three jump to commands from GrandpaVittorio Savonawho has limitless money, a score of powerful Mafia friends, and a recent wish to see Regina dead. The drowning, meant to look accidental, is quickly recognized as murder when Columbo comes on the scenetatty raincoat, half- smoked stogie, battered Peugeot all in placebut the sudden disappearance of Grandpa complicates the case, sending Columbo to the village in Italy where the real Vittorio Savona, Regina's real grandfather, still lives. The journey proves not too productive, but not to worry: All the villains heretoo many to cataloguewill get their comeuppances. How could it be otherwise with the dogged Columbo in full chase? Lots of action, gore, and sex in a fast-moving, well-crafted diversion that lacks the texture and tension of the author's legal thrillers.