First of all for a brilliant writer, she made an awful lot of mistakes. A lot of mistakes. And you're correct to point out that we don't know for sure that Edmund killed her niece. I mean that's all speculation. As far as hiding the keys in the sand she had to put them somewhere quickly I guess. And as far as Veronica was concerned, remember that she got that trip as a result of trying to Blackmail Abigail. Because she had figured it out. I think she just sailed away and had a Dandy little time. And yes the ending is a little bit weak with all of those things that she was coming up with in the safe. But in the end older not, Columbo arrested her. Which was the ultimate goal.
Abigail doesn't seem to know how right she is when she says "I'm really only intelligent when I write."
Always one of my favorite episodes, as well. The music is one of the big reasons why - definitely one of the best scores in the series. It adds such a dimension of mood. I've gone back and forth on my feelings for Abigail, who is "an old woman, quite harmless, all in all." I've always suspected that Edmund did, in fact, kill her niece, so I can't say I blame Abigail for wanting to kill him. Abigail's sarcasm and palpable contempt for Edmund certainly helped steer Columbo's investigative path. I guess it always seemed strange to me that her lawyer, who was just on the ship, didn't return to her house with Columbo. He knew she'd killed Edmund, too, and certainly would have tried to protect her from Columbo's search. What happens to Veronica? I imagine she'd be arrested as an accomplice after the fact. As for the keys, she was about to ditch them in the ocean when Columbo showed up. His unexpected presence may have flustered her into making the bold choice to try and bluff her way out with the (easily disproved) story of finding the keys by the bush. I believe the key scene does take place at the same location (Santa Monica Pier) as the Dobbs conversation. Not sure if the murder in "Identity Crisis" also occurred at the same pier.
I always thought Abigail’s theories (cosmic question, new shoes, heaven is my destination, etc.) were just her being flippant and deliberately absurd, maybe to show that she didn’t care at all about Edmund or solving the case.
It's pretty much established at the beginning that she is a bit...absent minded.
She can't remember whether to reset the alarm or leave it off when she closes the safe. A big mistake!
No, just because she writes about murder, doesn't make her a criminal mastermind.
I singled out the score in my article on the music!
She also shows a pretty big ego, partly in a harmless way and partly in a way that can bother you just a little.
When she says the plane might wait for HER, that's in the first area (for me).
When she says "My father never owned a car till I bought him one," I sort of find it touching and sort of don't.
Abigail is no match for Columbo, and from the very beginning (see, “Oh no m’am, this wasn’t an accident”). So while the tension is weak, the interaction between them is well-done and quite entertaining. That her attempt to “script” the murder is turned back at her in the denouement is a fitting conclusion to the cleverness that is exhibited during the episode’s volley between fiction author and real cop, with the Columbo’s spiel at the podium being a memorable highlight. (Nice quote reference by Grant above, btw.) But yeah, as has been pointed out many times, not changing the light bulb in the safe after the murder is an eternal head-scratcher.
One thing that confused me: had COLUMBO already solved the murder BEFORE he told Abigail she couldn't travel?..Upon subsequent viewings, I now believe he hadn't. He figured it out in real time as she watched.
He knew she was the murderer, but he needed further evidence. So, in a way it was solved, but not proved. When he smoked that cigar in the chair and the safe, he arrived at what he said to Abigail later – that Edmund wanted to reveal who killed him, but not outright, in case the killer was the one who would open the safe. He also had a sense of what the missing paper said, based in part on his conversation with Veronica. It seems that when he called on Abigail for help in solving it, her way off-base conjectures/ shenanigans came across as, once again, quite contrived… championship-level playing stupid, that further confirmed he was not only on the right track but closing in. But when he had her read what was discovered, her cover was blown away big time – and yes, in real time.
In many episodes when COLUMBO requests the presence of the killer,
he has already solved the case and has the proof e.g. ETUDE IN BLACK., GREENHOUSE JUNGLE.
So, when he pulled her off the boat it would seem he had the convicting evidence.
Otherwise, he had no legal right to prevent her from travelling.
Ya see my point?