Retired agent Izzy Cohen marks his 80th birthday by telling syndicated mystery reviewer Stokes Moran (Otherwise Known as Murder, 1994, not reviewed) about a stolen X-rated videotapea tape that shows the highlights of 25 years of dalliances between Izzy's lover, Lev Levin, and a dazzling parade of Hollywood beefcake. Izzy wants Stokes and his fiancÇe, Lee Holland, to deliver greetings and conciliatory packages to the men at play on the tape, so the two of them jet to California to interview Lev's costars, whose ``character'' development here is restricted to their physical attributes. Before Stokes and Lee can work their way through the list, though, they're called back to NYC by the news of Izzy's death. The result is a lackadaisical story padded with references tailored to the most obsessional fanand at the same time a reviewer's fantasy of the cushy life, replete with first-class flights, big advances for instant books, Stokes's booklength agony over compiling his ten-favorite-mysteries list, and the occasional corpse to stumble over. As for the case itselfwell, to quote Lee, ``If this were a mystery novel, no reader would buy it.''