Duke Ellington, Steve Allen, Johnny Mercer, Mitch Miller, and Noel Coward are among the nine notable popular lyricists and/or melody men to whom Henry Kane addresses his inquiry. Only it's not all that simple. As Mr. Coward is informed during his separate interview, ""We talk and talk and sort of, I soak you up"". Kane is a veritable sponge. When finally the interviewees do get around to giving their little formulas for replacing Larry Hart, there's general agreement that it takes ""desire, talent, and tenacity"". (Mr. Kane's love of sound considered, one wonders whether it would take ""tenacity"" were it not alliterative.) With that out of the way let's talk about the book. These are portraitures with an excuse, low-keyed interviews in depth with the author's parlance getting so cool at times that it almost burns: as he says to Steverino, ""How are you fixed for God?"" The ""talk, talk"" comes through pretty well. We're aware at all times that these are nine different people.