Yep, it's true. The personality of the bumbling, fumbling detective is right there in that book, written before the tv series. The man even rambles about his wife. He acts like an incompetent boob, but underneath it all, he comes up with ingenius conclusions and runs the show. And that's where they got Columbo.
Great episodes, with perfect casting of Peter Falk in the lead, and a great technique that works over and over again: letting the viewer witness the murder before hand and watching the detective wend his way into solving the case. That's so backwards, that's so--Jeopardy!
One of my all time favorites.