Extra Information


    (originally aired November 21, 1977)
    Music: P.AT WILLIAMS
    Art director: HOWARD E. IOHNSON
    Film editor: HOWARD S. DEANE
    Set decorations: RICHARD B. GODDARD
    Assistant director: DODIE FOSTER
    Unit manager: D JACK STUBBS
    Sound effects editor: WILLIAM WISTROM
    Music editor: IAMES D. YOUNG
    Costume designer: GEORGE R. WHITTAKER
    Titles and optical effects by UNIVERSAL TITLE
    Acclaimed mystery writer Abigail Mitchell, author of thirty-two   best-selling books about murder, is certain that I Edmund Galvin killed his wife, her Beloved niece Phyllis. The police ruled that the young woman died in a boating accident
four months ago Rather than reveal her suspicions, however, Abigail has been playing up to the fortune~hunting nephew by marriage.
    She has even altered her will in his favor. After ail, the celebrated author tells
    Edmund, he is her only living relative.

    After signing the proper documents in the presence of her attorney,
    Martin Hammond, and her secretary, Veronica, Abigail prepares to
    leave for a flight to New York City, where her mystery play Murder of
    the Year is closing after a nineteen-year run. Taking Edmund aside, she
    tells him to leave and sneak back by the service road. She wants to give
    him the combination to her walk-in vault, and Martin wouldn't approve.
    Edmund is all too eager to cooperate, especially since the vault
    contains jewels, important documents, manuscripts and vast reserves of
    cash. Only three people know the combination: Abigail, Martin and
    When Edmund returns, Abigail has him open the vault for practice.
    She asks him to get something from inside. She shuts the door on him
    just as Martin arrives to take her to the airport.
    The vault is soundproof. The one overhead light bulb is burned out
    and there is no ventilation. Edmund will die of suffocation slowly and
    in darkness.
    Before leaving the room, Abigail switches on the vault alarm and
    picks up the keys Edmund threw on the coffee table. While going out to
    the car, she hides the keys in the sand of a standing ashtray.
    The body is discovered the next morning by Veronica. Abigail flies
    back from New York in time to see Lieutenant Columbo inspecting the
    vault. The clues are few: six burnt matches, black paint under the dead
    man's fingernails and one of the author's manuscripts with the title page
    torn off.
    These clues are puzzling, and so are several other details. The alarm
    was on when Veronica came in to open the vault. If Edmund opened
    the vault and then accidentally locked himself in to avoid detection, how
    did the alarm get switched back into the on position?
    There are two pieces of torn paper. Are they from the missing title
    page? What happened to the missing title part?
    And what happened to Edmund's car keys? The house and grounds
    are being searched.
    Veronica finds the keys in the ashtray. The opportunistic secretary
    gives them to Abigail and asks for certain rewards in return. The first is
    to accompany her boss on an ocean cruise.
    Abigail tells Columbo that she found the keys near a lawn sprinkler.
    That's not possible, the lieutenant answers. The sections of the grounds
    where Edmund left footprints were photographed. There are pictures of
    the sprinkler. There are no keys.
    The writer pleads the frailties of old age. She'll soon be leaving the
    country. Columbo has to work fast.

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