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The Investigation [Kindle Edition]

Stanislaw Lem , Adele Milch
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $14.99 What's this?
Print List Price: $17.95
Kindle Price: $9.99
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Discover an addictive, suspenseful debut thriller filled with twists and turns that will keep you engrossed from start to finish. Learn more

Book Description

A young officer at Scotland Yard is assigned to investigate a puzzling and eerie case of missing-and apparently resurrected-bodies. To unravel the mystery, Lt. Gregory consults scientific, philosophical, and theological experts, who supply him with a host of theories and clues.


Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Polish (translation)

About the Author

Stanislaw Lem is the most widely translated and best known science fiction author writing outside of the English language. Winner of the Kafka Prize, he is a contributor to many magazines, including the New Yorker, and he is the author of numerous works, including Solaris.

Product Details

  • File Size: 522 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (July 18, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008R2K8VO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #356,423 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Highly original mystery will intrigue the curious April 18, 2000
Format:Paperback
For years I'd heard a lot about Stanislaw Lem as a great Polish science fiction writer, maybe one of the world's greats in that field, but I hadn't ever read him. Therefore, when I saw a book of his at a yard sale, I bought it. The price was certainly right. But, I must report that I still haven't read any of his science-fiction because THE INVESTIGATION turns out to be one of his few works in other genres. But what genre is this ? You might say it's a detective novel, but "metaphysical detective fiction" would describe it better. How many other books fit into the same field ? Good question. Here we find bodies removed from graveyards and mortuaries; sometimes they turn up elsewhere, sometimes not. Gregory, a suspicious policeman, is assigned to catch the perpetrator. But is there a perpetrator ? Discussions of statistics and probability, as well as mysterious speculations, pepper this novel, which takes place in cold, foggy, rainy or snowy conditions in England, a country that does not emerge very realistically from the background. I was constantly reminded of Ismail Kadare's novel "Doruntine" by the similar philosophical nature of the writing which marks both books, by the rain and cold, and even by the names of characters-Stres in the Albanian book, and Sciss (the statistician) in Lem's. I can't say that this is a characteristic Lem novel because it's the first I ever read. But a detective novel that asks "what if everything that exists is fragmentary, incomplete, aborted, events with ends but no beginnings, events that only have middles, things that have fronts or rears, but not both, with us constantly making categories..... ?" cannot be considered average. Lem's novel may not be to everyone's taste---especially if you are looking for sex, violence, or lots of action---but it is unusual and well-written.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Left Crying in the Wilderness January 3, 2012
Format:Paperback
In fitting with the theme of this book: It was a Friday afternoon, and my wife and I stopped by the main library in our city. I had my mind of checking out two particular books. I gathered the two books and then proceeded to walk through the stacks in the fiction area. As I walked, this work (with an odd late 1980s cover, at the end of a row) caught my eye. I checked it out on a whim, not knowing anything about it.

From start to finish this floored me. The tension between order and randomness -- light and dark -- is thrilling and makes for a sensational reading experience. Lem also creates setting (dark restaurants, bars with women in bare shoulders) in magnificent ways. His ability to keep a complex tale simple also is admirable because this is a book with deceptively heavy themes. Finally, unlike a lot of books with similar themes, the ending here is perfect, in that, often humans are left crying in the wilderness.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unsatisfying November 15, 2011
By Judah
Format:Paperback
Dead bodies are inexplicable moving around the London area, and Scotland Yard is on the case.

Mixing mystery with science, the book ultimately leaves much unexplained. It makes use of the statistical analysis and the scientific method in the earlier chapters. Then intuition, and latching onto the 'possible but unlikely' in the later chapters. The moral is 'some events don't have a conventionally scientific explanation, but life goes on'.

An unsatisfying novel which takes great mental energy as the reader attempts to use the multitude of details to puzzle out the case. The book is dense and rich in minutiae, for example pages 151-155 are a single paragraph.

Only read if you love both mysteries and unexplained phenomena, want something different, and don't mind half-hearted resolutions. Reminded me of reading Nathaniel Hawthorne's "House of the Seven Gables".
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just the facts, Stan. March 7, 2001
Format:Paperback
As every detective and scientist should know, objectively there are facts and relationships between facts. Sometimes there are causal relationships between facts, and the facts are correlated; sometimes there are no causal connections between facts, and the facts may or may not show some statistical correlation. The situation where the facts display at least chance correlations but may not be linked causally provides the leitmotiv for Stanislaw Lem's "The Investigation" (and his "Chain of Chance" for that matter).
Correlated facts are suggestive, but when the number of facts does not amount to a meaningful statistical sample the correlation may be an artifact, and then sound inductive reasoning often gives way to wild speculation. In "The Investigation", lieutenant Gregory of Scotland Yard desperately tries to puzzle out a consistent explanation for a bizarre series of disappearing corpses while receiving input from a scientist, a doctor, and fellow detectives --- each with his own ideas. The problem is that there doesn't seem to be enough solid evidence to decide whether the facts of the case have causal structure or whether they simply form "fortuitous patterns". Hmmm.
The category of "science fiction" is usually reserved for whimsical flights of fancy, but here we have a book that breathes fictional life into part of the intellectual apparatus that is at the very heart of science --- the empirical, or scientific, method. No pedantic statement is made about the empirical method, it's darker corners simply serve as a compelling thematic backdrop for a detective story.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars "Maybe even God only exists from time to time"
As a departure from my usual style of reviewing, I'm going to give the plot of THE INVESTIGATION rather short shrift, because any synopsis I could come up with would simply be... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Bryan Byrd
1.0 out of 5 stars The investigation
Did not enjoy this book, the typography errors, more than one per page,totally unacceptable, story poorly told 0 stars,do DO NOT RECOMMEND.
Published 13 months ago by malachy smith
3.0 out of 5 stars More meandering than disturbing
To me, this book read like one of Philip Dick's less focused works. It sort of meanders along, following a police detective as he investigates a series of mysterious crimes that... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Rob Kroese
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring and goes in circles
Don"t bother with this one. I kept waiting for something, but nothing really happened . That part of my life is gone forever.
Published 15 months ago by Dean
3.0 out of 5 stars It's ok
I didn't like the way Sheppard and Gregory interacted; especially Sheppard's character. The end left me in the lurch...who was the guilty person? Read more
Published 15 months ago by fritz
3.0 out of 5 stars Lem at his average.
Not as good as the few other novels of his I've read. But entertaining enough for fans. (Three more words required, here they are.)
Published 16 months ago by VoxVulgus
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring an Hard to get into
This becomes one of the more convoluted stories I have read. It is difficult to follow the story through because of the way the primary protagonists are made to interact. Read more
Published 16 months ago by S. E. Potts
2.0 out of 5 stars Too wordy, not much action
It was too much about how police. It seemed less about the crime and more about manipulating the police officer.
Published 16 months ago by Anne Nusbaum
1.0 out of 5 stars Too long & confusing!
Went on way too long, it took forever to finish! I can't start a book & not finish it but this was a struggle! Tons of typos & spelling errors. Read more
Published 16 months ago by ksue
3.0 out of 5 stars Very Strange ... Kept me Reading
Yep, moving dead are strange. Too strange. Terminally strange. I may read another Lem book, and I am positive it, too, will be strange. Fortunately, I am somewhat strange.
Published 16 months ago by Cap Munday
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More About the Author

Stanislaw Lem is the most widely translated and best known science fiction author writing outside of the English language. Winner of the Kafka Prize, he is a contributor to many magazines, including the New Yorker, and he is the author of numerous works, including Solaris.

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