When big-shot literary agent Peter Katz receives an unfinished manuscript entitled The Book of Mirrors, he is intrigued.
The author, Richard Flynn is writing a memoir about his time at Princeton in the late 80s, documenting his relationship with the famous Professor Joseph Wieder.
One night in 1987, Wieder was brutally murdered in his home and the case was never solved.
Peter Katz is hell-bent on getting to the bottom of what happened that night twenty-five years ago and is convinced the full manuscript will reveal who committed the violent crime.
But other people’s recollections are dangerous weapons to play with, and this might be one memory that is best kept buried.
This is an interesting, well-written book with plenty of layers and depth, centered as it is around a story within a story. It definitely drew me in, and I do love books with several parts or narratives – particularly when there’s also an element of mystery!
The Book of Mirrors is a story of several parts – we start by reading the manuscript sent to an agent, but soon discover it’s only a partial manuscript and so although it seems to be based on truth, on a real murder of a University Professor which happened many years ago, we don’t know if it’s true – and if it is true then who killed him, and how?
We switch to other viewpoints as they try to find out what actually happened. I really love novels which are essentially a ‘book within a book’ with dual narratives, as this is. I always find them intriguing, and The Book of Mirrors was no exception. The only annoying thing about this kind of novel is that I often feel that, just I’m just becoming completely absorbed in the plot, it switches and I feel a bit disappointed because I want to continue. However this does allow the reader to read from another viewpoint, and tease out the small intricacies connected to the murder that only certain characters may know.
Avoiding some of the characteristics of the crime genre, this book does not focus on the police investigation much at all; it’s more focussed on the private investigator hired by the publishers, who is trying to work out what happened. Memories are muddied and forgotten (and purposefully altered?) so that nothing is as it seems. I really like that sense of uncertainty. When reading the manuscript we are focussed on the story as it unravels, completely at the mercy of the narrator, Peter, and whether he is a reliable narrator – or not.
E.O. Chirovici writes really well, and creates a novel which you’ll want to keep reading. It’s different and deliciously deep, drawing you in as you try to unravel the details!
The Book of Mirrors is published in the UK on 24 January by Cornerstone.
Many thanks to Cornerstone for providing a copy of this novel, on which I chose to write an unbiased and honest review