While doing research for a proposed TV series on heinous Victorian criminals, the hero of Paranoia in the Launderette, by Bruce Robinson (Bloomsbury), becomes convinced that there are murderers around every corner, hiding under his bed, poisoning his food, setting up elaborate plots to ambush him when he ventures out. I was laughing by the time I finished the first page: the narrator's paranoia reminded me of childhood bedtimes when it was vital to keep all fingers, toes and ears under the covers so that no evil intruder would chop them off. The story gets even funnier when our narrator's literary agent insists that he go to the launderette so that he'll have a clean shirt to wear to a meeting with a producer. Is it merely coincidence that the producer has the same middle name as the notorious Hawley Harvey Crippen, who did his wife in lime? And was that really his agent on the phone, or was it someone impersonating her by talking through a handkerchief? The very idea of venturing into a launderette fills our hero with dread, and now there is the possibility that a diabolical plot is about to do him in. At only forty-eight pages, this would be perfect bus reading if it weren't for the fact that it makes you laugh out loud.