EXCERPT: Skullduggery! Inspector Wesselhoft and the case of the purloined painting

TULSA – If you were casting a mystery movie, you wouldn’t pick state Rep. Paul Wesselhoft for the lead role. 

Let’s just say he doesn’t have movie star looks, and he has a habit of tripping over his own tongue in close-ups.

He’s no Humphrey Bogart. Just a retired Army chaplain from a working-class suburb who does the best he can to represent his constituents.

Until recently, his most memorable additions to public policy discussions at the state Capitol have been in moments of comic relief. 

There was the time he proposed a law to outlaw street gangs by making it a fine-able misdemeanor to belong to one. And the time he said the state’s “rainy day” fund should be used to combat the drought.

But the man from Moore has been admirably dogged — part Columbo, part Clouseau — in his efforts to force the University of Oklahoma to return a 19th century painting to its rightful owner.

It’s the case of the purloined painting, and Inspector Wesselhoft is on the job.

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