BOOK REVIEW: The Book of Mirrors by E.O. Chirovici

The Book of Mirrors begins when literary agent Peter Katz reads an excerpt of a manuscript by Richard Flynn dealing with events surrounding the murder of Princeton University psychology Professor Joseph Wieder in 1987. Katz is intrigued and interested in the complete manuscript but by the time he responds to Flynn, Flynn has died of lung cancer. Katz hires unemployed investigative journalist John Keller, an old friend, to look into the events recounted by Flynn. When Katz becomes disillusioned with the investigation, retired detective Ray Freeman, the detective originally assigned to the case, picks up the baton. All three men encounter a cast of characters circling around the events of 1987, all of whom have their own agendas and reasons to lie.

The book illustrates the Rashomon effect in the context of a mystery, concluding that no one has an unvarnished account of the past because we all see it through the lens of our own experiences and obsessions. This is a frequent theme that has been treated elsewhere with more sophistication and less overtness. Additionally, there was a hint of a more interesting manipulation of memories at plan but those suggestions were not born out.

I also found that some of the competing accounts were too divergent to be believable. For example, one character maintained he had a sexual relationship with another while she denied it. One character maintains his wife had a history of prostitution though there was no evidence of that. Finally, the book left some key questions unanswered. The authorship of a critical manuscript was contested but never resolved. An earlier murder was solved but the guilt of the convicted defendant in doubt and this was also never resolved.

While I found the book rather unsatisfying with uncomplicated characters and a somewhat superficial plot, it was a quick and engaging read and might be suitable for someone with that criteria in mind.

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