Carter Colborn flies to California for a second no-frills mystery aimed at Nancy Drew fans. Production of the popular TV show directed by Carter's father comes to a halt when the current episode's star, Dory, disappears. Half-convinced that Dory has been kidnapped by the notorious ""toolbox killer,"" a serial murderer of teen-age girls, Carter snoops about with the help of several new acquaintances. After some narrow escapes, she finds Dory--who has actually run away from a too-demanding mother. The story here is contrived: not only do various characters leave a convenient trail of incriminating documents, articles of clothing, and cake crumbs; but Carter, by pure chance, crawls into the killer's van, thus getting to assist in his capture. She displays a certain amount of courage, but also a near-total disregard for the feelings--not to mention the orders--of her father, and (considering how much help the author gives her) not much ingenuity as a detective. Carter's previous case (Lessons in Fear, 1987) is less formulaic; readers looking for mysteries with a difference might also enjoy Bethancourt's Doris Fein series.