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On the surface ‘Mirror Trick’ reads like a standard crime novel, with multiple twists of plot sustaining the reader’s attention. Below the surface things are different. A host of ethical issues to do with research are subtly embedded into the text, in particular the ambivalent relationship between academia and industry.

The ‘wonder drug’ Beatitude G does not exist – the details of its development are invented – but a startlingly similar manipulation of research data to hide the adverse side effects of a pharmaceutical product has recently been in the news.

‘Mirror Trick’ not only explores ethical issues to do with research, but features several areas of speciality knowledge, in particular current scientific thinking about the nature of memory. Issues that would normally only be debated in high level research journals are blended seamlessly together with the dramatic events of a crime novel.

As the story unfolds, it also becomes apparent that there may be a submerged literary thread – a repeated theme to do with illusion and reflection – which gradually permeates each significant plot development. Despite this, the tone of the writing retains a consistently light touch, never straying too far from humour or romance, as the tension racks up and the story reaches its final conclusion.