Worried because she's dying of cancer and hard-pressed for cash, Hollywood madam Claire Young comes up with the foolproof idea of going semi-public with her big black book, simultaneously soliciting a little discreet blackmail and inviting disgruntled ex-clients to put her feloniously out of her misery. But Claire's plan goes haywire when somebody kills her assistant Fern Arnold and her stenographer Amelia Hubbard instead of her. Was the killer the unnamed studio exec whose affair with Claire drove her out of MGM years ago, or the equally anonymous father of her polio-stricken son Elmer? Or, as MGM stars Myrna Loy and William Powell wonder while they fill the time between Thin Man pictures, could the killer have been Claire herself, in an unusually deep- laid plot? In between rounds of snooping along with Det. Herb Villon (The Humphrey Bogart Murder Case, p. 348, etc., etc.), Loy and Powell, intermittently joined by Dashiell Hammett and Lillian Hellman, swap retro Metro bons mots that, if they aren't as fresh as they might have been in a pre-Baxt 1936 (``You behave more married than any marrieds I know,'' Hellman tells them), are still as appropriate as Claire's tell-all book to the headliners and their gossipy milieu. Above average, then, for this creaky series. What's next, though? The Luise Rainer/Walter Brennan/Sonja Henie Murder Case?