This time, the lovelorn of greater Denver don’t have problems enough for Stella the Stargazer; the advice columnist allows herself to be talked into serving as [X-year-old?] Steven Holman’s nanny when her predecessor, Elena Ruiz, goes AWOL. Neither Steven’s father, Grant Holman, nor the police are worried; after all, Elena left a note saying when she’d be back. But Stella, Elena’s tutor in a literacy program, knows that Elena couldn’t have written that note. Did she take off one step ahead of the INS? Was she killed by a vampire, as Steven tells Stella? Or does her disappearance have anything to do with the death of Cathleen Holman, the mother Steven insists he killed himself? Since Grant Holman is something of a magnet for unattached females—from Elena’s boss Louise Braden to Stella’s friend Meredith Spenser—the biggest mystery may be who’s telephoning Steven pretending to be his mother. The mystery is anemic, though Jorgensen (Curl Up and Die, 1997, etc.) is unexpectedly touching on sad Steven and his handsome, volcanic dad.