A reconstruction--via a cop who time-travels backward into another identity--of who killed William Desmond Taylor out in the Hollywood of the early '20s. Remember? There's no reason why you should and Taylor doesn't/didn't mean that much. He became a film star having abandoned his family, his business, and his wherewithal in New York in 1908 and come out to the mogulomania city of De Mille and Lasky. (All of the characters here, save three, are and so are the cardboard props.) Taylor, something of a lover boy, divided himself between the pert pouts of Betty Blayne and the moues of Mabel Norman, a ""clockwork doll"" who ran up and down on mainlined drugs. But someone tried to kill both Bill and Mabel on a wild cable car ride; Lasky warned him he'd be dead in a week, and everywhere he traveled like bad news, one move behind his ultimate murder. Peeples supplies a reasonable possibility for the unresolved case but the styleless prose won't do much to bring it back alive out of a doornail-dead past--Fatty Arbuckle, Wallace Reid, the Hearsts, etc., notwithstanding.