Faherty, already a veteran of four Owen Keane mysteries (Die Dreaming, 1994, etc.), takes a time machine back to 1947 Hollywood for a new series featuring Scott Elliott, whose dead- end career as a contract player was mercifully cut short by the war. Now Elliott's working a security job for Warner Brothers, investigating an anonymous allegation that the screenwriter of Love Me Again, the company's peacetime sequel to the wildly popular Passage to Lisbon (think Casablanca afloat), is a Communist. Bert Kramer indignantly denies the suggestion, and nobody can tie him to the Party, but by the time the last negative report is in, Kramer's long since been murdered, his dead hand clutching a screenplay of Love Me Again that's obviously intended as a dying message. In between jaunts around town in his 1940 LaSalle, trips to New York to check rumors of a HUAC industry purge, and agreeably florid faceoffs with Warner publicist Pidgin Englehart --``I tried to stare a blush out of her, but that was a bigger job than one man could handle''-- Elliott gives an exhaustive synopsis of the new film's plot, but only the sharpest readers will see its significance, or pick out the guilty party. More deeply imagined than George Baxt's or Stuart Kaminsky's knockabout nostalgia binges--Elliott's really drunk deep of this postwar disillusionment stuff--but the mystery packs as many curves as Betty Grable.