THIS LOOKS LIKE a job for Inspector Clousseau.
The new one.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, police in Cologne, Germany, the nicest smelling city in Europe, believe that Steve Martin may have been taken by a big-time art forger.
Der Spiegel reports that in 2004, the banjo-playing comedian/actor bought a painting that looked an awful lot like Heinrich Campendonk's Landscape With Horses (allegedly 1915) from the Paris gallery Cazeau-Beraudiere for $850,000 - so this was clearly not Playing Poker With Horses.
A Campendonk expert had confirmed the painting's authenticity before the purchase so it looked like a slam 'donk.
Martin resold the work for a couple of hundred grand less than he paid for it in 2006, but even the Swiss businesswoman who bought it didn't get her money's worth.
The Campendonk may have been a Pieceofjonk, the work of a suspected forgery gang that investigators caught last year and that is believed to have sold at le ast 44 unoriginal paintings over the last decade or so.
The gang consisted of alleged mastermind Wolfgang Beltracchi; his wife; Helene; her sister Jeanette, and accomplice Otto Schulte-Kellinghaus. Beltracchi claimed the paintings were part of two collections saved from Nazis - one from Helene and Jeanette's grandfather, Werner Jagers; the other from Schulte-Kellinghaus' grandfather, a tailor called Knops.
Losses to the art community from the sale and resale of the copies totaled in the tens of millions.
Tattbits* Texan Robert Tucker is suing Andy Dick over his December performance at a Dallas nightclub.
Tucker claims he suffered emotional distress and defamation as a result of an alleged incident in which he sat in the audience and was subjected to an exposed Dick.
Maybe we'll concede come emotional distress because no man likes to feel inadequate around another man's genitalia.
But defamation? Did his stalk talk?
* Protected parkland, it seems, is no better than a pension.
It only has value if there's money behind it.
California Governor Jerry Brown has okayed the sale of a 22-acre Malibu ranch once donated by Barbra Streisand to become an environmental conference and study center, because the state needs the dough.
The property had been valued in 1993 at $15 million.
Streisand hopes the buyer will preserve its "special habitat."
* The foundation of
24/7 best-selling author Nora Roberts is giving $100,000 to McDaniel College, in Westminster, Md. The school says it will offer an academic minor in romance literature and start a writing course in the genre.
President Roger Casey says the college aims to raise the profile of romance novels. He says serious study of the subject will reinforce Roberts' reputation as a master and champion of the craft.
The school also will build a library collection of American romance literature, including all of Roberts' more than 200 novels.
And the college will hold an international conference on romance novels in November.
Just wait until Tattle has the money to start up a major in celebrity gossip re-write with concentrations in Charlie Sheen, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mel Gibson, Tiger Woods and Lindsay Lohan.
* DC Comics is going
straight to No. 1 in September, renumbering its entire lineup from the beginning and retooling nearly all of its major characters, including Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman.
Tattle sure hopes this does not include titles like "Action Comics" and "Detective Comics" whose longevity should be celebrated - not trashed.
USA Today reported yesterday that DC will launch upward of more than 50 issues starting at No. 1, with "Justice League" No. 1, written by the company's chief creative officer, Geoff Johns, and illustrated by co-publisher Jim Lee.
The move is part of DC's efforts to reflect current themes and events and will feature characters with costumes redesigned by Lee.
We're tasting New Coke.
* Courthouse News reports that
Frederic Von Anhalt and Zsa Zsa Gabor owe $57,896 on a leased 2006 Rolls Royce Phantom, and Imports of Santa Monica would like its money.
* It's difficult
enough to drive around in Italy without having to worry about Snooki, so Us Weekly reports that the boot nation has revoked the "Jersey Shore" star's license. It's the law in Italy if anyone is hurt in an accident.
Snooki will most likely not face jail time for her fender-bender Monday - usually she just has the bender without the fender - but could be sued by the police officers in the car she hit.
They have 90 days to decide.
* Coachella music-festival
organizers are doubling the annual music extravaganza in 2012.
Next year's festival will be held in Indio, Calif., over two weekends on April 13-15 and April 20- 22.
The separate events are expected to feature the "same lineup, same art, same place, different people."
But show up for the second weekend, and you can enjoy the contact high from the first weekend.
Daily News wire services contributed to this report.