A fantasy/mystery novel by Diana Wynne Jones
. David, forced to spend his school vacation with his guardians, who he dislikes, accidentally releases Luke (Loki)
from prison, and then has to protect him from Luke's family, who are after him to give back something he stole.
Tropes featured include:
- Adults Are Useless: Played straight, then subverted. Most of David's relations are willfully oblivious to the supernatural events playing out under their noses, but Astrid eventually becomes useful, if not downright involved, and of course there is the solicitor down the street...
- Beauty Equals Goodness: Astrid is described as "quite pretty" when she's first introduced, in contrast to David's other, ugly relations. By the end of the book, she and David have become very close, she helps David achieve his goals, and David is actively looking forward to living with just her.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: On a shopping trip David wishes something interesting would happen, like a fire. Luke offers to set one in a nearby building, and David is shocked to realize that he can actually do it and that people are now in danger.
- Big Eater: Luke, who at one point downs multiple ice cream sundaes. Which makes sense considering his long imprisonment and his mythological exploits.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Astrid dislikes David's family just as much as he does, and when they realize this they start to get along a lot better.
- Evil Uncle: It turns out David's uncle and cousin have been stealing money that was rightfully David's and using it for their own illegal purposes.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In the myths, Loki once accused Frey and Freya of Brother-Sister Incest. They appear disguised as a married couple. In her memoins, DWJ recalled a close reading editor realizing that Astrid and Thor were having an affair. It almost stopped the book's publication.
- Just Whistle: Luke appears when David strikes a match. This is used to trap him.
- Locked Out of the Loop: David can only find what Luke stole if he doesn't know what it is.
- Norse Mythology
- Meaningful Name: Luke, Mr. Chew, Mr. Wedding, and the Frys.
- Pals with Jesus: Pals with Loki, rather.
- Parental Abandonment: David's parents are dead and his guardians are spiteful and neglectful.
- Really 700 Years Old: Luke
- Playing with Fire: Luke
- The Trickster: Luke.
- Woman Scorned: The ultimate driving force behind the plot.