Porcelain Doll (Jana Lane Mystery #1)


It’s 1982, and former child star Jana Lane is starring in a new murder mystery movie being shot in her home and on her estate. She’s co-starring with not one, but two hunky Hollywood heartthrobs. When a death occurs on set, amateur sleuth Jana believes it’s more than an accident. More deaths and the appearance of notes warning her to mind her own business soon prove she’s on the right track. With her husband away on architectural business, Jana is subjected to the wiles of her sexy leading man, Jason Apollo, who happens to be staying in her guest cottage. Does Jason want Jana all to himself, or is someone or something else at the root of the mystery? One thing is for sure…nothing is as it seems.


“Porcelain Doll” hooks from the start with characters behaving badly, all of whom have life-changing secrets. Jana is likeable enough, although it’s baffling how she can stand up to a bigoted preacher, yet can’t keep her son’s nanny in line. Some incidents are unbelievable, i.e. how Jana can never see who pushes or shoves her, the husband’s continued absence with his wife and child in possible danger. A comment about Nixon doesn’t fit the era, and Jana drew too often from a well of life-saving tricks she remembers from movie roles—think Shirley Temple meets Nancy Drew—amusing, but implausibly corny. The story includes a nice arc, well-developed characters, and a few unexpected surprises, which add to the storyline. An entertaining, if slightly campy, read. 

Lori Leger