The Chicken or the Pig

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Sausages: A Comedy of Transdimensional Tomfoolery, by Tom Holt – Not to be confused with the equally absurd Sex and Drugs and Sausage Rolls, this book is sometimes considered the final entry in the J.W. Wells & Co. series. It clearly takes place in the same universe, but the characters from that series are relegated to brief mentions, although Theo van Spee does make a minor but significant appearance. The story involves Polly Mayer, a lawyer for a land development firm with a jingle writer brother, who discovers that things have been disappearing, starting with her coffee and extending to the houses the firm has sold and the dry cleaning shop where she left her dress. Her brother Don finds out that he’s suddenly able to work magic, although it isn’t as useful as it sounds. And her boss Mr. Huos not only has lost his magic ring that brings him luck in real estate transactions, but can’t remember anything from when he appeared fully grown in the mountains of Georgia (the former Soviet republic). The magician for hire Stanley Gogerty is determined to figure out what’s been going on, and how it relates to a barnyard sow who discovered interdimensional travel, lawyers and their musician brothers being turned into chickens, and a 700-year-old contest to determine the answer to the age-old but rather pointless question of whether the chicken or the egg came first. It switches between characters a lot, and can get rather confusing for this reason, but the ending actually does a good job of tying it all together.

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