Riley Greenleaf is a publisher and Alan Mallory, a successful writer, is his principal asset. But Alan Mallory has decided to change publishers. Riley threatens to kill Alan. Then he hires Eddie Kane, a Vietnam veteran, to murder Alan and to leave evidence that the killer is Riley himself, who has an excellent alibi. But a key will betray him. Written by
Baldinotto da Pistoia
Jack Cassidy gives an unquestionably energetic and gritty performance in his second Columbo adventure as a murderer, which oddly mirrors the theme of fictional writing that marked his previous appearance in "Murder By the Book."
Cassidy plays Riley Greenleaf, a revengeful publisher who sees his best writer (ironically played by real-life author Mickey Spillane) poached from under his nose. So he hires an unstable bomb specialist, Eddie Kane, to murder him and leave evidence at the scene to give the impression that somebody is trying to frame Greenleaf, whilst the latter goes on a drinking spree to give himself a cast-iron alibi when the murder is committed. Greenleaf then tries to pin the murder on Edddie Kane...
A really clever, expertly written and holding mystery, which slips in some very key evidence (literally) at the end. The script is tightly structured and put together in a very professional fashion, typified by the strength of Greenleaf's alibi which makes things very difficult for Columbo all the way through, coupled with the undoubted composure of Cassidy's character, who is continually plotting in a distinctly unruffled fashion, long after the first murder has been committed.
To my mind, a very high calibre Columbo story; stylish, well-handled and not telegraphed with the predictability that has weakened some potentially top-notch Columbo adventures.
13 of 15 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?