Another of the author's series set in early Hollywood (The Tallulah Bankhead Murder Case, etc.)--this time it's 1929, at the start of the transition from silents to talkies. Baxt's Hollywood is a cesspool of rumor, lust, self-indulgence, greed, and stupidity. All of the above are present in the movie family headed by virago Marie Darling, who has promoted daughter Annamary, son Jack, and son-in-law Willis into lucrative careers in silents--and who has no intention of seeing those careers go down the tubes in the revolution taking place in the studios. The unsolved murders of Jack's dissolute superstar wife Dolly and her father Zeke--who turns out to be nothing of the sort--complicate matters for Marie while she frantically renegotiates contracts with Alex Roland's Diamond studios. There's more trouble in store for Roland with the strangling murders of actresses Alicia Leddy and Lotus Fairweather, imported from Broadway to star in two of his productions. Meanwhile, Chief Inspector Herbert Villon of the LAPD thinks more than one murderer is at work--a theory scoffed at by his ambitious reporter girlfriend Hazel Dickson. All the big names of the era wander in and out, like Sam Goldwyn spouting malapropisms and others spouting bitchy gossip. The windup of the murder puzzle owes little to Villon's detecting powers. Shrill and jaundiced: strictly for nostalgia buffs with a taste for the seamy side.