Unlike most dirty-business-dealing novels, this solid entry from veteran Masur doesn't throw in cocaine, kinkiness, and glamour along with the proxy fight; it does, however, feature a few ruthless killings and an awfully neat murder-mystery subplot. The central, rather unexciting premise: shady N.Y.-based tycoon Frank Hanna is trying a tender-offer takeover of Hollywood's ailing Arcadia Films--with help from Mike Ryan, chief executive of the Gregorius & Co. brokerage house. So Mike must woo Arcadia's shareholders, including aged ex-star Kate Rennie (widow of Arcadia's founder) and rich Ward Bendiner, a visitor from Florida who happens to be having an affair with the daughter of Mike's boss, old Anson Gregorius. Foul wheeler-dealer Hanna, however, is impatient with Mike's ethical approach: a Hanna lieutenant arranges for Kate to be murdered and for her heir (a druggie nephew) to be brainwashed into supporting the takeover. Meanwhile, Mike also has problems at the office: Anson's weak, frustrated son is up to no good with illegal inside-dealing and forgery. And questions about big stockholder Ward Bendiner arise when--down at his Florida home--bodies start surfacing. Small wonder, then, that an SEC investigator is suspicious about the whole busy Arcadia mess. . . and Masur's merry-go-round narrative, heavy on flashback exposition, does get a little too busy, without any firm focus among the swarming characters. (The often-pulpy prose doesn't help either, with, for instance, two uses of the deathless phrase ""an obliterating fog of carnality."") Still, this is one biz-thriller that gets better as it goes along--Masur's pro craftsmanship nets some dandy payoffs--and readers not fazed by the often-technical Wall St. chat will find it a sturdy, old-fashioned diversion.