cover image The Better Mousetrap

The Better Mousetrap

Tom Holt, . . Orbit UK, $24.95 (345pp) ISBN 978-1-84149-503-3

In this witty, highly amusing tale, British comic fantasist Holt (Barking ) describes a modern-day England where magical creatures and sorcerers are commonplace. Mild-mannered Frank Carpenter uses his Acme Portable Door to travel anywhere in time and space and reverse disasters for 10% of the recouped insurance payout. But when his latest assignment, mythological pest exterminator Emily Spitzer, keeps dying, Frank must figure out how to disable the titular device, which kills in “every possible alternative reality in the multiverse.” Things only get more complicated when Frank becomes smitten with his well-armed damsel-in-distress. Eloquently snarky prose supports an otherwise clunky plot replete with fanciful coincidences and unnecessarily convoluted time travel, and Holt’s quirky characters and whimsical voice successfully infuse life into this entertaining romantic comedy. (May)