I always kind of wish "The Conspirators" weren't such a "straightforward" title, because almost all the others are more unusual, just as you say. But it's not like it doesn't make sense.
To me, about the best one is "An Exercise In Fatality." It's a play on "an exercise in futility," but it's also about Milo's profession. So it's two different kinds of wordplay.
So many good titles. Just off the top of my head: "By Dawn's Early Light" not only plays off the killer's military character by quoting the national anthem, it also hints at the key clue that solved the case.
Death Lends A Hand is a good one. Not only does Brimmer kill Mrs. Kennicut with his hand, but by being death in her murder, he lends a hand to the investigation.
Yeah I’ve always thought Death Lends A Hand was a great title as well, also one of my favourites.
I like when the title immediately identifies the episode in your head. Requiem For A Falling Star was always one that didn’t seem ideal to me. And I always thought it was identifiable to Forgotten Lady.
I agree about Requiem and Forgotten Lady. I have a similar issue with Double Exposure, which always makes me think of the Negative Reaction episode. Ironically, Negative Reaction is one of the best titles in the entire series, but that doesn't stop my brain from taking a wrong turn.
Those two also make me have to stop and think through which episode is which each time, despite seeing them both 50 times each 😁
"Murder By The Book" is an appropriate title for the episode. Ken Franklin actually uses his own idea in the Mrs. Melville books to kill Ken Franklin. However, Columbo mentions that the way he killed Lilly La Sanka was sloppy and "Mrs. Melville would be disappointed."
Apple TV has, I believe, the first seven seasons of Columbo. Unedited. I am sure it is the first five seasons. It's nice to have him back.
So many times over the years Bye Bye Sky High IQ Murder has made me think of Roddy McDowell in the cable car with the cigars over the floor rather than the actual episode. Also I find it difficult to remember which Jack Cassidy author episode is which.