The cover describes this book as "A near-future mystery". It is a scifi story starting in 2068, when Dr Doug Michaels visits Josh, only to be told by Josh's robot that Josh has been in his garage for 12 days. In the garage, Doug finds a badly decomposing Josh. The authorities state Josh hung himself 6 days ago, except an initial DNA analysis says it is not Josh. Later, it is. Doug wants to know why Josh died. So far, a mystery, except the "crime scene" is not even described. Doug's approach is to do a retroscape, which is apparently to dredge memories from people's brains. However, the only available brain is his own, so what follows is a "historical" account of what happened to Doug over the preceding thirty years. The "mystery" now becomes, what is this book about?
I considered the book to be two parts that describe a future where electronic technology is supreme, with robots doing most of the work, being conversationalists, and even being spouses. Perrin's imagination here was in full flow, and there are numerous "incidents" that show the effect, but are not really relevant to Josh's death. The writing is good; the descriptions that are offered are clear, although sometimes not really important for the story; the two main characters are well-presented and some of the robots or electronic entities are also given "personality", in some ways more than the characters. The book provides an extremely interesting imaginative romp through where society might go with the further introduction of AI. If, however, you are looking for a mystery where the reader tries to pick the answers through clues in the text, this is not the book for you. The second "part", closer to a tenth in length, tells the reader what the book is really about. Again, extremely clever, but mainly tell rather than show, and left me wondering why much of the first "part" was there. Then the real story turns up in the last few pages.