It is April, 1930. The roaring '20s have ended. The nation is absorbing the shock of the stock market crash of the previous October. However, in the wake of the economic catastrophe, Cyrus Skeen, private detective, scion of East Coast wealth, and a figure in San Francisco society, is secure. He never bought on margin.
In this eighth adventure of Skeen's, Hollywood reaches out to him - literally. A Hollywood producer visits his office and promises him the moon if he would agree to allow his persona and cases be used for some new movies, possibly starring William Powell or Ronald Colman. Skeen expresses no interest and asks the man to leave.
The next day a friend brings him a news clipping about a major Hollywood studio negotiating with him over the rights to his past cases to produce a series of detective films - all talkies. The only problem is that the news item appeared in a Hollywood publication a week before the producer appeared in Skeen's office. Later that day his friend is murdered.
As the clues to his friend's murder pile up, they all seem to point to a bizarre connection between a road accident that occurred in 1906, the ambitions of a California politician angling for the US Senate, and a captivating starlet who invites Skeen to a dalliance. Silver Screens probes the questionable links between Hollywood and politics in the detective's most complex and baffling case yet.