Roots: Murder on the Orient Express. There are references to Howard Carter and Napoleon.
Continuity: The Way of Drell is a three thousand year old religion established in the Mother Temple on Karnor. The Drell Imnulate is a thirty-centimetre tall crystal statue that represents a symbolic amalgam of sentient life forms. It is made of chalcite crystal containing zalene gas bubbles and is currently privately owned by Nathan Costermann. The Drell believe in universal harmony; a splinter faction called the Kedd-Drell believe that unification of all species under the Drell faith should be pursued by any means necessary.
The Nargs are minotaur-like aliens frequently employed for physical labour.
Tempest is so named due to its complex and violent meteorological conditions. It has shorter days than Earth. The Carlsbad Archaeological Society is based on Tempest. Carlsbad City is located at the equator, whilst the space ports are located at the poles; Trans-Global Railway's monorail trains link them together. Stops en route from Carlsbad to the North Pole include Amazonia, Sirocco Flats, Roaring Canyon, Mist Mire, and Spule Lake. Amongst Tempest's flora and fauna are starfish-like creatures, predators large enough to eat a human whole, silvery paper-light creatures resembling living sail-boards with double sails, and various dwarf tree-like species. The planet has rivers. 'Servers are humanoid robots used on Tempest and available in different levels of sophistication.
Bernice is invited to give a lecture on Tempest after one of the Carlsbad Archaeological Society's founder members reads Down Among the Dead Men. She drinks Chambrey '57 on the Polar Express. She is appointed a temporary special constable in the Tempest Police Department. Commissioner Hynds gives her a silver Deputy's star as a leaving present. Her arm is placed in a cast after she receives a hairline fracture to her radius.
Thaon 5 orbits the gas giant Thaon. Klondyke is a mining world. Hecten City is on Mondor. There is a Drell Temple in First Landing City on Hanson's World. Other planets mentioned here include Sestor Three.
One of the aliens present on Tempest is a small humanoid with a bald head, copper-red skin, pointed ears, large independently mobile chameleon eyes, and a gnome-like face. Wrexians have smooth pale faces.
Carnellian stones and dreeth root are both smuggled on Tempest. SC-20 is a fast-acting riot control gas.
Links: Bernice reflects on advice given to her by Sherlock Holmes (All-Consuming Fire, Happy Endings).
Location: Thaon 5, Klondyke and Carlsbad City and on board the Polar Express, Tempest, c2594.
Future History: Tempest is first surveyed c2444. Although the planet lacks intelligent indigenous life, it has various flora and fauna including a species of fungi found to have pharmacological applications, prompting interest from bio-industries.
Wilton Carne is a twenty-sixth century musician.
Unrecorded Adventures: Bernice was on an expedition to excavate the tomb of Trakimon, the third king of Velopolis, for several weeks.
The Bottom Line: One of Bulis' better efforts, a solid and entertaining murder mystery. It's hugely derivative of course, but it also boasts better characterisation than most of his other novels put together and a plot that keeps the pages turning.