I'm struggling to understand your issues with Address Book. Within Address Book: to add a new person type Apple N (⌘ n) or click the + symbol at the bottom left of the contact pane.
Within Mail: Type a new address in to the To or Cc space then send/save the email. Next time you look at this message there will be a blue shade behind it and a little arrow. Click the arrow and choose Add to Address Book.
I suppose the gripe here is that within Mail you are presented a cut down Address Panel rather than the full blown Address Book application. Why not leave your views for Apple here after noting your issue I agree and so have duly whinged to Apple in this way myself.