One half of a murder-mystery writing team kills his more talented partner after the latter announces his intentions to go solo which would ultimately leave the former in financial ruin. Later a grocery store owner, who has important information pertaining to the case and has romantic desires for the killer, sees this incident as an opportunity to blackmail him into having a relationship with her. Feeling cornered, he kills her and tries to make it look like she'd fallen off a boat and drowned in a drunken stupor.
In 1997, Murder by the Book was ranked at No. 16 in TV Guide's '100 Greatest Episodes of All Time' list. See more »
When the police are at Jim's office investigating his alleged shooting, it appears to be night time out side. When Columbo is back at his home, the scene outside shows it to be dusk. See more »
[Jim works in his office]
[knock on the door]
Who is it?
[another knock on the door]
[He opens the door - Ken is aiming a gun at his face. Jim laughs]
Oh, you're not intimidated.
Oh, come on, Ken. You're forgetting that I'm one-half of the world's greatest mystery-writing team? You, ah, don't have gloves on, your finger's not on the trigger, and there are no bullets in the cylinder.
You're right. I'm a lousy practical joker.
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Casting Jack Cassidy as Ken Frankin was sheer brilliance. Cassidy personified arrogance, confidence, charm and wit - all with a condescending, evil little smirk on his face. In my opinion, Jack Cassidy is by far the best murderer (having appeared three times) in the Columbo series. This particular (and first) performance, is my favorite Columbo episode ever - hands down. A fresh faced Steven Spielberg did amazing camera work (yes, there were a couple of camera shadows on the actors at times)capturing the nuances and banter at different and intriguing angles between Columbo and Franklin. Also, the panoramic and tight in shots at Big Bear Lake, CA (Franklin's cabin home) were very impressive.
If you have not yet seen this episode, then you owe it to yourself to do so - it's a true masterpiece.
Jack Cassidy was a very talented actor and singer. His charismatic personality was highly infectious. His death in 1976, at age 49 was very sad and indeed very tragic - he surely had his best years ahead of him. Rest in Peace Jack, you will live on for eternity through your great work.
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