Fabułę powieści kryminalnej można odczytać jako metonimię sytuacji poznawczej, model poznania. Z tego powodu powieściopisarze (zwłaszcza należący do epoki późnego modernizmu i postmodernizmu) często korzystają z tego rodzaju fabuły i tworzą powieści-metaforyczne, traktaty na temat ludzkiego potencjału epistemologicznego (a raczej: samego jego braku). Dotyczy to również prozy Stanisława Lema.
The plot of a detective story can be interpreted as a metonymy of a cognitive situation, a model ofcognition recognized in its general conditions. Due to this fact, novelists (especially those belonging tothe universe(s) of late modernism and postmodernism) often take advantage of this kind of plot andcreate novels-metaphorical treaties on human epistemological potential (or rather: the very lack of it). ; This is also true in the case of Stanisław Lem's prose. As the late modernist (or pre-postmodernist),he was focused on presenting unequivocality of human cognition in general, attaining this aim byplaying with plural discourses, genres, pre-existing texts and traditional literary forms. The literaryconvention of detective story was one of his favourite writing strategies. "Śledztwo" ("The Investigation", 1959) and "Katar" ("The Chain of Chance", 1976) are two of his novels which can be recognized as perfect examples of detective fiction. Nonetheless, their genological structure is more complicated, as they are the effect of the subtle game described above (played by the author invoking multiple conventions). ; The theory of genre proposed by Stanisław Balbus a few years ago seems to be a useful strategy todepict that specific relation between the author, the amorphous genological space, and the reader(the relation that is characteristic for Lem's "detective stories").