->"To this virus we have given a highly unscientific name, but one which describes it perfectly. The Satan Bug."
-->-- '''Dr. Gregor Hoffman'''

[[caption-width-right:333:"But if you act now, you'll win this free vial of botulinus!"]]
''The Satan Bug'' is a 1962 science fiction/mystery novel by AlistairMacLean, he of ''Literature/TheGunsOfNavarone'' and ''WhereEaglesDare'' fame. [=MacLean=] wrote it under the pseudonym "Ian Stuart," but subsequent publications give his real name.

''The Satan Bug'' concerns the theft of a SyntheticPlague code-named the Satan Bug from the Mordon Microbiological Research Establishment, a top-secret British research laboratory. With the lab's chief of security Neil Clandon having been murdered in the process, the British government tracks down Clandon's predecessor, PrivateDetective and BadassPacifist Pierre Cavell, in the hopes that he can track down the DiabolicalMastermind behind the theft.

It was adapted into a 1965 film directed by JohnSturges featuring an early score by JerryGoldsmith. While the story was mostly kept the same, all the action was relocated to America and almost the entire cast of characters had their names changed.

!!Tropes used in the novel:
* AntiHero: Cavell isn't above using intimidation, blackmail and torture to get what he wants. He's arguably justified, though, considering what's at stake, and he never goes too far.
* ApocalypseHow:
** Regional/Continental Class 1: The botulinus depending on the dose.
** Planetary Class 4: The Satan Bug regardless of how much is released.
* AssholeVictim: [[spoiler:Dr. Alexander [=MacDonald=]]], who is murdered by Scarlatti to frame him and throw the authorities off his trail. He was both a JerkAss ''and'' a DirtyCommunist.
* BadassPacifist: Cavell was fired from Mordon for objecting to the bio-weapon experiments, and has a distaste for war and the military. [[spoiler:We later learn however that his firing was engineered by the General as part of a plan to discover who was smuggling viruses out of Mordon, however his antiwar sentiments are genuine.]]
* BatmanGambit: Cavell's preferred method of operation. He has a knack for figuring out what someone, friend or foe, will or won't do in a given circumstance.
* [[ChaseScene Car Chase]]
* CoolGun: The Hanyatti.
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: Anyone who dies from the botulinus.
* DaChief: The General.
* TheDragon: Henriques.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Scarlatti claims this is why he returned the kidnapped kids, and why he (at that point) hasn't harmed Mary, although he's really just avoiding making any more enemies than he has to.
* EvilPlan: Months in advance of the robbery, Scarlatti sets in motion multiple plans to divert suspicion from his [[spoiler:Dr. Gregori]] persona and implicate others in the theft he hasn't even committed yet, and/or force various people to help him, and/or send the authorities on wild goose chase thinking the culprit is a Communist or a religious nutcase. And up to a certain point, no matter what the outcome, he succeeds because nobody knows ''he'' in particular has the viruses, or is even in the country.
* FakingTheDead: Cavell briefly fakes his own death to lull his enemies into a false sense of security.
* GovernmentAgencyOfFiction: The Mordon Microbiological Research Establishment is fictional, although it has some similarities to the real-life Porton Down.
* GuileHero: Cavell.
* HappilyMarried: Cavell and his wife, Mary.
* HeKnowsTooMuch
* IHaveYourWife
* ImprobableAimingSkills: Whilst tied up in a basement, Cavell uses his Hanyatti to shoot the length of cord anchoring his bound feet to the wall.
* IndyPloy: How Cavell overcomes Henriques. [[spoiler:When Henriques lights a match, Cavell lunges at him suddenly with a knife in the split second the match flares up, and stabs him.]]
* TheMole: [[spoiler:Dr. Gregori]], who is really Enzo Scarlatti.
* NoNameGiven / EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep: The General, which is for security purposes. It's said very few people know his real name.
* PragmaticVillainy: Scarlatti returns the kidnapped kids of the two men he forced to smuggle his {{Mooks}} into Mordon.
* PrivateDetective: Cavell is one since leaving Mordon.
* RedHerring: By the boatload.
* RedHerringMole: No less than ''three'' - [[spoiler:Dr. Hartnell, Dr. [=MacDonald=] and Dr. Chessingham]].
* SecretTestOfCharacter: A man, knowing of Cavell's antiwar sympathies, tries to pay him to smuggle a vaccine stolen from Mordon to Poland. Cavell pretends to accept, but then pulls a gun on him, citing his loyalty to his country ahead of his own personal ideals. Enter Superintendent Hardanger to reveal it was a test to see if he could be bought.
* SherlockScan: Cavell's ability to do this seems to be the main reason Hardanger and Cliveden wanted him on the case.
* ShortLivedAerialEscape: Scarlatti attempts to escape aboard a helicopter at the end.
* SyntheticPlague: The titular Satan Bug.
* TapOnTheHead: Subverted. Although most characters who get bonked on the head do recover, they take a while to do so, and many, particularly Cavell himself, experience debilitating effects such as dizziness afterward.
* TortureAlwaysWorks: Whenever Cavell tortures someone he needs information from, they ''always'' give him the information and it's ''always'' the correct information.
* UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans: This is supposedly Scarlatti's motive, but it's [[spoiler:just a smokescreen to clear out London with a plague scare so he and his men can loot banks]].
* WhatMeasureIsAMook: Averted. Cavell only wants Scarlatti. He only kills Henriques because he has to, and spares another henchman's life.

!!Tropes used in the movie:
* AbsentMindedProfessor: Dr. Baxter is strongly implied to be one.
* ActionHero: Although Barrett ''is'' pretty intelligent and good at figuring stuff out, when it comes to actually dealing with the villains, unlike Cavell he tends to let his fists do the problem-solving.
* AdaptationExpansion: We actually see the theft (or some of it).
* AdaptationNameChange: Almost every single character. Pierre Cavell has become Lee Barrett, Dr. Giovanni Gregori is now Dr. Gregor Hoffman, Superintendent Hardanger is now Eric Cavanaugh, etc.; even the General is given a name; it's Williams.
* AdaptationalVillainy: The helicopter pilot. In the novel he's forced by Scarlatti to fly the helicopter against his will and assists Cavell in defeating him; here he's cooperating with Ainsley willingly and even tries to murder Barrett.
* BadassPacifist: Unlike Cavell in the book, Barret really ''was'' fired for objecting to what was being done at Station 3. He openly dislikes the military and war.
* ChekhovsSkill: The SDI man posing as Henry Martin mentions Barrett flew helicopters in [[UsefulNotes/TheKoreanWar Korea]]. [[spoiler:This comes in handy much later when he has to throw out Ainsley's pilot during a fight and fly the copter himself.]]
* CoDragons: Donald and Veretti.
* DiabolicalMastermind
* DisneyVillainDeath: A twofer at the end. [[spoiler:Ainsley's pilot gets chucked out of their helicopter while fighting Barrett, and then Ainsley himself leaps out rather than confess where the viruses are hidden]].
* GovernmentAgencyOfFiction: The SDI and the {{Area 51}}-like Station 3.
* HellishCopter
* IndyPloy: When Barrett uses the pretext of a stalled car engine to get the jump on Ainsley's {{Mooks}}, knocking one out and killing the other.
* JerryGoldsmith: Did the score.
* KillItWithFire: How Barrett and the SDI agents destroy the botulinus at the gas station.
* MadScientist
* TheMole: [[spoiler:Dr. Hoffman]], who is really Charles Ainsley.
* OmnicidalManiac: Ainsley.
* RedShirtArmy: Those poor SDI agents...
* SecretTestOfCharacter: Barrett is approached by a man who wants him to smuggle an illegally obtained vaccine for him. It goes pretty much the same way it does in the book; Barret refuses and it is then revealed by Cavanaugh that it was a test of Barrett's loyalties.
* TapOnTheHead: Played straight. People knocked out either recover with no consequences, or just stay knocked out. Whichever the plot requires.
* UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans: Unlike in the novel, this is played straight as Ainsley's motivation.