An intriguing investigation into an unsolved cold case, The Book Of Mirrors deals with fragments of memory, conflicting perceptions, a whole host of unreliable narrators and a good old-fashioned murder in the library with a decent list of potential suspects.
The author uses the format of a writer-writing-about-publishing which normally encourages me to flick to something else on my kindle… but we’d bought this one in paperback, so I persisted. And I was glad that I did, because beyond the self-indulgent writery stuff there lurked a solid mystery, with clues and red herrings and witnesses scattered hither and yon across the storyline. Chirovici also came up with some engaging characters – people of multiple perspectives. You meet them initially and pigeonhole each person into the thriller reader’s filing system of characters: victim, suspect, witness, investigator, etc.
And then the point of view shifts slightly, and it turns out that no one was being entirely honest (well, who is?). No one was entirely truthful. At least one of the suspects / witnesses might’ve been suffering psychological trauma which undermined his whole recollection of events. The dead guy himself is revealed as possibly not the nicest fella you might wish to meet; potentially culpable in all manner of contributory unsavoury actions.
Or not. It depends who you believe, in this novel written in quicksand.
I’d’ve preferred more psychology and a little less university grad-boy background. The personal lives of the various investigators felt kinda contrived, padding which slowed the pace of the main story. It would’ve been more interesting to read lumps of the dead professor’s work (in which he could’ve named his own killer: wouldn’t that be nifty?) than listening to a whiny freelance journo bleat about his girlfriend troubles.
That aside, this was an accessible and involving story – with more than enough cerebral material to engage the grey matter, and plenty of plausible plot reversals. Chirovici packed in plenty of surprises, without stopping to the level of sheer impossibility to insert yet another twist into the last chapter. In the end, his conclusion is elegant and simple, and extremely satisfying.
Reviewed by Rowena Hoseason
The Book Of Mirrors by EO Chirovici is available at Amazon