Originally Posted by twowheels
Knowing nothing of the book in question, that looks, to me, like an author throwing around vocabulary for the sake of it. It's far too wordy IMO, indicating unfamiliarity with the word.
'The thaw continued overnight, and l[. L]awns[,] that had been totally subniveal the day before[,] were now resurfacing in [irregular] patches of irregular green under a blue sky.'
That said, I'm neither a writer nor editor.
I'd be wary of accusing Mr Dexter of unfamiliarity with words. As well as being a writer of detective stories, he's also well-known as a compiler and solver of cryptic crosswords. I strongly suspect that he knows a lot more about words than you or I are ever likely to.