Lazlo Woodbine is a character in several of Robert Rankin's 'far fetched fiction' novels.
In Rankin's books Lazlo Woodbine (some call him Laz) is a creation of P.P.Penrose, yet he still appears as an actual character in some of the books. Laz is the undisputed master of the 50's era American dective genre. With him you always get what you pay for, when you pay for the best private eye in the buisness. He doesn't come cheap but with him you can expect a lot of gratuitous sex and violence, a corpse strewn alley and a final rooftop showdown. No loose endings, no spin-offs and all strictly in the first person.
Laz only works the four locations, his office, where his clients come to engage his services. A bar where he talks a load of old toot and the dame who does him wrong bops him on the head at the beginning of the case. An alleyway where he gets into sticky situations and a rooftop where he has his final confrontation with the villain.No master of the genre ever needed more.
On occasion, Laz has Barry The Sprout as his companion. Barry is a talking sprout who lives insde Laz's head - a theopany. A little gift from God's garden. A holy guardian sprout.
To liven things up while Laz is solving the cases (which are often about cases) he has several running gags, including trenchcoat humour, the mispronunciation of his name and his trusty Smith and Wesney Snipes. Another of his catchphrases is when he shows extraordinarly detailed knowledge of such trivia as the names of card games, or the exact specifications of various jukeboxes and someone he is talking a load of old toot to (often his barman and bestest buddy Fangio) proclaims "Laz, you sure know your jukeboxes" Laz will reply "Buddy, in this buisness knowing your jukeboxes can mean the difference between walking the dog and eloping with the bird. if you know what I mean and I'm sure that you do."
To date Lazlo Woodbine has appeared in The Suburban Book Of The Dead (Armageddon III: The Remake), Sprout Mask Replica, The Dance Of The Voodoo Handbag,Waiting for Godalming and The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse. However he is not always the Woodbine. Sometimes he is a character suffering delusions he is the Woodbine and attempting to solve cases. In The Suburban Book Of The Dead the Lazlo Woodbine the reader encounters is actually his distant descendant from the 25th Century (who, nevertheless, still has the same job, the same office with the same watercooler and unmentionable carpet, which as such won't be mentioned here and even the same catchphrases).