At first glance „The Chain of Chance” is a detective story – a series of mysterious deaths of people visiting Naples' baths is examined. The protagonist, an American Astronaut, prematurely retired because of allergies, tries to solve this riddle. He experiences a number of extraordinary adventures but eventually the greatest of them all is the adventure of the mind having to find its way in the chaos of the contemporary world.
While I was filling my toilet kit, I came across something solid. The automatic. It had completely slipped my mind. At that moment I would have liked nothing better than to ditch it under the bathtub; instead I buried it in the larger suitcase, under my shirts, then carefully dried off the skin around my chest and stood before the mirror to attach the sensors.
A mystery story so intelligent and intricate that it defies solution, by a virtuoso storyteller and stylist.
"The New York Times Book Review"
A series of mysterious deaths in a southern Italian seaside resort baffles the Italian police. A dozen tourists disappear or die. All are men, all are middle-aged, all are foreigners.
A former astronaut is dispatched to Italy as private investigator. He sets himself up as a decoy, and is assailed by strange events - but what do they mean? Lem charges his plot with a dimension new to the genre, as death is revealed as a product of chance. Brilliantly inventive, immensely readable.
I wrote "Katar" ("The Chain of Chance") because the novel "The Investigation" departs from the classic convention of a detective story - the reader did not receive a clear-cut explanation of the puzzle. In the case of "Katar" the perpetrator of catastrophes and death of many people turns out to be the chain of chance, the outcome of randomization of elements present in the modern civilization.