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Iconic Columbo book to be reissued!

You heard me right, I want 50 copies of the book or I’ll bust yer neck!

Great news, fellow Columbo lovers! Hot on the heels of my just-published interview with ace author Mark Dawidziak, I can exclusively reveal that there will be a 30th anniversary reissue of his iconic book, The Columbo Phile, later this year.

Details are scant at this stage, but what I do know is that there will be additional commentary and information added to a new back section of the book, but this will stop short of being a fully updated and revised edition. It also will not (sadly) include individual reviews of the ABC Columbo episodes from 1989-2003, due in no small part to Mr Dawidziak’s very busy schedule.

“The reissued book will be available at a more accessible price point.”

Still, this remains excellent news for fans who don’t already own the book, because it will be released at a more accessible price point. The first edition, published in 1989, completely sold out but was never reprinted. As a result, copies of it can cost a pretty penny – often in excess of $100. I myself paid more than 80 British pounds for my copy – a price I consider a BARGAIN!

The Columbo Phile
The first edition remains the definitive Columbo resource

Naturally I’ll keep you updated on any developments about publication dates and new content for the book, which is destined to race to the top of birthday and Christmas wish lists for Columbo fans the world over!

If you’re not au fait with the book now, read up on why it’s such an important tome for Columbo lovers here.

You can also read my interview with author Mark Dawidziak about his 5-year journey to complete The Columbo Phile book here.

Don’t want to wait? Buy a first edition copy of The Columbo Phile here

Support Columbophile! Buy him a coffee and help make this site better!

Rumour has it that the updated book will have a foreword written by one Sergeant Wilson. Fancy that!
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45 thoughts on “Iconic Columbo book to be reissued!

  1. Columbophile,
    Since you know his work and know the author, you should suggest to him that he hold out on publishing the book for another 6-12 months and allow you to perform reviews for the newer episodes (trying to mimic the style and tone of the rest of the book). Other authors often use a ghostwriter to update old editions of books or to update a book after the author has passed away and they are successful in copying the tone and style of the original while noting a second author on the cover and in the preface. This would get you some additional exposure in the world of Columbo fans, earn a few pence for your troubles, and put you in position for any future editions/printing. Dawidziak’s work is not diminished in any way and the price of the additional pages may be offset by the purchase of additional copies by fans of the first book who will not buy an updated version but would buy an updated version that covers all episodes completely. Worth a phone call at any rate; you are just the person to do the writing as your blog site writing and comments make you the most recent and contemporary authority on the subject and your experience with comments shows you what the modern-day fan is interested in, something the original author likely did not have when he wrote his first book 30 years ago.

    Good luck,
    Peter Q

    • Hi Peter, thanks very much for your confidence-boosting words! I do believe this project is too far moved now to delay, and much as I’d love such an opportunity I can’t see it happening. Another author has already written reviews for all the ‘new’ episodes in the expanded Japanese version of the book, which could theoretically be translated, but perhaps that’s too long a process to get it all ready for the 30th anniversary year. If I ever do a Columbo book I imagine it’ll be all my own work. In other news, I’m implementing your suggestion to highlight a misstep or mistake from each episode in my ‘5 best moments’ posts. The first will be published this weekend!

  2. Your recent articles prompted me to go back to my copy of Mark’s book and give it a full re-read. I noticed an error or two. For example, in summarizing “Ransom for a Dead Man,” Mark writes that Leslie promised to “give Margaret the $300,000 ‘ransom’ money.” Actually, she only promised to give her $25,000 a year. He also omits the key “deja vu” scene in “Murder by the Book,” an vital clue foreshadowing Columbo’s solution.

    Hopefully, the 30th anniversary edition will correct some of these issues.

    • Here’s another example: In discussing “Old Fashioned Murder,” Mark spoke to Peter S. Fischer about Fischer’s original, quite different story concept for the episode. Mark then says, “Fischer’s concept sounds a good deal more promising than the story eventually developed by Lawrence Vail” (and the ultimate teleplay). But “Lawrence Vail” is Peter S. Fischer. Vail is the pseudonym Fischer used for anything he felt did not fairly represent his work. (Lawrence Vail was a character in the Kaufman & Hart play “Once in a Lifetime, a playwright who went to Hollywood and wound up in a sanatorium. George S. Kaufman played the part on Broadway.)

    • Chris, Chris, Chris, you’ve touched the third rail of Columbodom. Columbo had no first name — despite what some unauthorized prop man may have created for “Dead Weight.” Co-creator William Link has been emphatic on that point.

  3. Forget the book!
    I want a return of a new TV series of “Columbo!”
    His nephew or grandson; a Peter Falk type. Perhaps Christian Slater?
    NO SEX, NO VISIBLE LOVE INTEREST…just good old fashion gum-shoe problem solving!

  4. Very exciting! I hope it’s out in time for Christmas!
    I have many times considered buying the book but could never justify the price.

  5. Missing 1989-2003 is no great loss ! In fact, ALL the great Columbos were made by 1975.
    The disastrous loss of quality between 1975 and 1978 would actually be an interesting discussion topic !

    • Dont entirely agree , 3 great episodes were made after 75 and before the new run they are The Bye Sky high IQ Murder 1977 , Try and Catch me ( which I think is the very best and also Make me a perfect Murder also a strong episode 1978 and How to dial a murder which was decent.
      However I am not a fan of Murder under glass or The conspirators 1978.

    • I don’t agree that the loss of quality was disastrous. I’d say it wasn’t as consistently good, but there were still some very worthwhile episodes from 76-78, notably Now You See Him (76), Bud-Bye Sky High IQ Murder Case (77) and Try & Catch Me (78), one or more of which would very likely appear in the majority of fans’ personal top 10 episodes – mine included.

      • It became very up and down after 1975 a matter of honor which was very uninspiring , Then the Great and very enjoyable Now you see him Followed by the shambolic Last salute , Improved a little with Fade in to Murder then dipped again with the plain dull Old fashioned murder , Then hit the dizzy heights with the very enjoyable Bye – Bye sky high IQ murder 1977 , continued with the very decent how to dial a murder and my own favorite and the legendary Try and catch me ( im not sure which came first how to dial or Try and catch me ) 1978 saw the very exciting Make me a perfect murder also one of my favorites , The quality dropped again with Murder under glass and The conspirators which I dont rate
        In conclusion I agree the loss of quality was minor But there was defintley a loss of consistency unlike between 69 and 75

      • Also agenda for murder,it’s all in the game, butterfly in shades of grey, murder with too many notes and death hits the jackpot. The conspirators was another favourite. Of course I am unusual in that I don’t think the later episodes were that bad. I got back into Columbo from watching the later ones. Hadn’t watched the show since I was a kid.

      • Yes These were among the better of the new run also Death hits the jackpot was very good , Murder a self portrait and Murder with too many notes also columbo goes under the guillotine are among the worst of the new run this excluding the 3 trash episodes Undercover no time to Die and Murder in Malibu.

        • Murder a self portrait was a very interesting episode. It is a very different episode and besides Vito Scott was on it. I personally like all Columbo episodes but I never could warm to try and catch me and bye sky hi I.Q.. in particular.

    • Make Me a Perfect Murder is actually my favourite episode. While it may seem like a poor episode in some respects i think its the Kay Freestone character that makes it so good for me. I really like Trish Van Devere’s performance as the character of Kay and i think the episode has so many memorable moments (Kay’s countdown of her own voice when she has to get back to the projection booth, the elevator scene when she tries to get the gun from the ceiling, the scene when Columbo hounds her through the monitors which was very surreal) Are there better episodes than this one? yes there are, but this is still my personal favourite

      • Make me a perfect murder is also one of my favorites Kay freestones characte rand the countdown to get back to the projection booth account for a lot of the reason .

  6. This is good news for people who do not already own a copy of the book and want one. I already have a copy, i paid £66 for it so i won’t be needing another copy, especially if there is not going to be any new information and no reviews of the later episodes, there is nothing really for me to feel excited about. But i am pleased for those who would like to read the book and can’t get an original copy.

    • Although not such good news for those of us who maintained our original edition in pristine shape for 30 years — washing our hands before each reading, keeping the pages and cover perfectly smooth — waiting for its value to skyrocket. Of course, I never would sell mine, but this was to be the cornerstone of my kids’ inheritance. (Try as I might, I could never either of them in Columbo.) Ah, well.

      Only kidding. Everyone should own The Columbo Phile.

  7. This is amazing news! I was just looking into the book after your last piece and saw the price and thought no damn it I can’t justify it.

    I don’t see why he needs to remove the episode reviews really. Unless he knows there is some non PC comments in there that won’t go over well?

    Thanks for the update!

  8. Wonderful Cubed! Best news ever! Our chance to read this most sought-after book at a hopefully reasonable price!

  9. Awesome! I wanted another copy. I bought mine 25 years ago at the Museum of Motion Picture and Television Science in Los Angeles.


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