"William E. Emba"|
The Better Mousetrap is the fifth book in Tom Holt's
series that began with The Portable Door. The first
four books told the adventures of Paul Carpenter, a fairly
boring nobody who joined the firm of J W Wells & Co, not
knowing its business is all magic and fantasy. Paul ends up
the possessor of the Acme Portable Door, a unique item that
fits inside a cardboard tube and rolls out a door, providing
convenient access across space and time and dimensions.
In the fifth book, Paul has retired and his son Frank has
inherited the Portable Door. Frank uses the door to help
an insurance company executive avoid monstrous settlements.
For 10% of the payment, Frank goes back in time and prevents
the accident in question. His method involves extensive
mathematical calculations, referred to several times and
sort of spelled out, in order to identify to fix history
properly, much like Asimov did in The End of Eternity.
But one accident, a simple cat stuck up a tree rescue gone
awry, refuses to be fixed. Frank's calculations refuse to
work when magic is involved, and he finds himself in an
escalating war of fix and counterfix, neither side knowing
quite who, where, or what the other side is.
As usual with Tom Holt, the book's humor is finely balanced
and brilliantly inventive.
The Better Mousetrap can be read independently of
the previous four books (which should be read in order).