This is the cult classic which inspired the film "Who framed Roger Rabbit" but the original book is much darker and more adult in tone than the film - and in spite of the fact that half the characters are "toons," much less cartoonish.
This is set in an alternative Hollywood in which cartoon characters or "toons" are real. Unlike the film however, they are neither industructible nor immortal. In the book, a toon can generate a temporary "doppelganger" duplicate of himself or herself, and these expendable copies are used as stunt doubles for all the dangerous or lethal work in films. A toon in this book who is hit by a bullet will die just as easily as a human.
The narrator and central character is P.I. Eddie Valiant - Bob Hoskin's character in the film. Other characters who were translated recognisably to the film from the book include cartoon comedy star Roger Rabbit, his humanoid toon wife Jessica Rabbit, and toon star Baby Herman.
As in the film, Eddie Valiant is hired by Roger Rabbit for a number of reasons including marital problems - in the book his beautiful wife Jessica has left him for his agent, Rocco DeGreasy. Roger wants her back, and believes Rocco has put pressure on her to leave him. At first he seems to be talking nonsense.
But a few chapters into the book, both Roger and Rocco are murdered. The police - human and toon divisions - think Roger killed his agent and Jessica murdered him in revenge. Shortly before he died Roger Rabbit created a doppelganger; this double persuades Eddie Valiant to look for evidence that both Jessica and his late self were innocent of the murders.
Eddie sets out to clear Roger and Jessica - with zany results.
A clever black comedy - well worth a read. The film was technically brilliant, but this original is a much cleverer story.