Being bibliophiles almost by definition, authors like to write about books.

From The Name Of The Rose to The Never-Ending Story, there are countless novels in which books themselves play a crucial part in the narrative. This comedy by Charlie Hill is one of them, but there's a flipside to it as well. For, at the same time as celebrating books that open the mind and expand our horizons, he condemns the dull and mediocre, using as his McGuffin a manuscript which is so appalling that reading it can actually kill the brain stone-dead.

The unlikely hero of Books is the independent bookshop owner Richard Anger. Since his wife ran off with a boring suburban kind of guy, Richard has been testing the boundaries of bad behaviour by drinking, taking drugs and womanising, only realising belatedly that he's in danger of becoming a cliché, but that behaving badly to provoke people and make them question society's norms at least has some semblance of purpose to it.

Having witnessed a woman die suddenly while in Corfu, Richard is sought out by neurologist Lauren Furrows, who is investigating the new phenomenon of SNAPS - Spontaneous Neural Atrophy Syndrome - and, in between making pathetic attempts to get off with her, Richard realises that the vector of the outbreak is novelist Gary Sayles, a truly dreadful author.

As the plot gets steadily sillier, and Lauren and Richard try to make their findings public to prevent more boredom-induced deaths, competing views of art begin to clash head-on. For Lauren, who has been trained as a scientist, art is a heady, transgressive challenge. To performance artists Pippa and Zeke, who target Gary Sayles for their own reasons, art has no meaning beyond its value as a commodity.

And Gary, who believes it should reflect the banality of life, is getting so carried away he starts believing he's the people's champion.

None of which bogs down the serious business of writing a pacy, daft little comedy which can be zipped through with ease. It's light, it's fun, but, as a consequence of Hill's evident passion for literature, convincingly eludes disposability.