Michael Hoeye,
Time Stops for No Mouse
(Terfle, 2000; Putnam's, 2002)

Time Stops for No Mouse is billed as A Hermux Tantamoq Adventure, which leads me to the conclusion there will be more stories about the watch repairmouse at the center of this novel. That's a good thing because Time Stops for No Mouse is a lovely book. Hermux is an unlikely hero, a quiet mouse, content in his work and his life. That is, until one Linka Perflinger enters his shop with a badly damaged timepiece. Linka is a beautiful adventuress. And when she disappears mysteriously, failing to pick up the watch after Hermux has worked so carefully to restore it to perfect working order, Hermux is drawn into a world of intrigue and danger.

Michael Hoeye has built a wonderfully textured world, maps included, for this first Hermux Tantamoq adventure. And from the town of Pinchester, nestled on the Twisty River, to the Teulabonari Rain Forest beyond the Gulf of Tretch, Hoeye has stocked his world with an array of interesting characters. There are mice, moles, rats, wrens and otters, and virtually all of them have unpronounceable names. Like Turfip Dandiffer, who's gone missing while on a rainforest research mission. And Pup Schoonagliffen, a newspaper reporter with a secret....

Of course there are secrets! This is, after all, a mystery novel. So, to itemize. Why does Pup convince Hermux to disguise himself as a linoleum salesman and sign up for a retreat at The Last Resort Health Spa & Research Clinic? What treachery is Dr. Hiril Mennus planning behind the locked doors of the clinic's research wing? Where has Terfle the ladybug disappeared to? And what exactly is a U-Babe 2000? You'll find that all these questions are answered within the pages of Time Stops for No Mouse.

The questions may have been answered by the end of Time Stops for No Mouse but the book certainly left me with the feeling that there was lots of unexplored territory in Hoeye's world. I also felt that Hermux was a mouse with charm, quiet strength and hidden potential, a mouse my children and I could continue to enjoy reading about. So let's hope that Hermux follows in the footsteps of such literary detectives as Hercule Poirot and Reg Wexford and finds himself at the center of a slew of labyrinthine adventures.

- Rambles
written by Gregg Thurlbeck
published 30 November 2002

Buy it from Amazon.com.