Young editor Mike Lindenthal, of N.Y.C.'s slick, sophisticated Beyond magazine, finds himself in trouble after an article he'd commissioned about L.A.'s much idolized TV talk host Bangor Laudicek brings the threat of a libel suit. To head it off, Beyond's legal superman Bob Struiker decides that he and Mike will fly to L.A. to meet with Laudicek, his lawyer, and author of the piece, Trilla McGuffy. Photographer Burley Moore and others from the mag's West Coast office float around the edges, supplying gossip on Trilla's druggy past and her long-standing vendetta against Bangor. The hotel suite meeting, attended also by Bangor's handsome, high-strung wife Pamela, seems to end in another triumph for Struiker, but in its aftermath Bangor is dead--fallen or pushed from the suite's balcony.
An LA magazine's lawyer is our hero/detective, first investigating when one of the magazine's writers is hit with a libel suit, then getting deeper into the plots around him, when the man doing the suing plunges 19 stories to his death. Convolutions and surprises, plus good writing, make for a reprise of the old-time hard-boiled mystery.