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Ship of Fools was the fourth Virgin Bernice Summerfield New Adventures novel.

Publisher's summary[]

"So who do I have to kill to get off this cruise?"

When Krytell Industries offered Benny a small, slightly dubious and, um, unofficial job aboard the majestic space cruise-liner, the Titanian Queen, she jumped at the chance. After all, with an unlimited expense account, an entire new wardrobe and more strings of pearls and other jewels than you could shake an Art Deco stick at, what more could a poor girl want?

That was then.

Now, the luckless if remarkably deserving passengers of the Titanian Queen are dropping like flies. Are the deaths the work of the mysterious criminal known as the Cat's Paw? Or is the super-rich businessman Krytell himself somehow involved? And will the great detective, Emil Dupont, finally stop getting things completely and utterly wrong and solve it all in time for tea and muffins?

Whatever's happening, Benny had better discover the truth for herself, and discover it soon. Before she suddenly finds herself another highly deplorable crime statistic.

Chapter titles[]

  • Prologue: The Imperfect Crime, and How to Commit It
  • Part One: Embarkation
    • Chapter 1: The Morning After the Night Before the Morning After (Recurring)
    • Chapter 2: A Relocation and a Preposition
    • Chapter 3: A Setting is Essay'd, a Villain Comprehended
    • Chapter 4: A Positive Plethora of Investigators
    • Chapter 5: 'Welcome to the Cruise of the Millennium...'
    • Chapter 6: 'In the Heart of Space the Night Never Ends...'
    • Chapter 7: Something Nasty in the Flies
    • Chapter 8: A Small Break in the Continuity
    • Interlude: The Unpleasant End of Doctor Po
  • Part Two: Excursions
    • Chapter 9: 'Your First Stop on a Grand Tour, of Intergalactic Wonder'
    • Chapter 10: A Dinner Appointment with Destiny
    • Chapter 11: Sitting Down to Dine
    • Chapter 12: The Distinct Possibility of Foul Play
    • Chapter 13: The Purée of the Plot Noticeably Thickens
    • Chapter 14: The Plot Becomes More Complicated Than Was Previously Imagined
    • Interlude: The Devilish Disguises of Doctor Po
  • Part Three: A Port of Call
    • Chapter 15: Benny Under the Spyglass
    • Chapter 16: The Feast of Truth and Lies
    • Chapter 17: The Removal and Disposal of Certain Masques
    • Interlude: The Hands that Bind the Dead
  • Part Four: Arrival
    • Chapter 18: Methods of Investigation
    • Chapter 19: Can We Talk?
    • Final Interlude: The Lair of the Flatwyrm
    • Chapter 20: The Characters Inhabiting the Mind
    • Chapter 21: The Inherent Shape of Things, Perceived
    • Chapter 22: The Penultimate Programme
    • Chapter 23: Surprising Arrivals
  • Appendix I: A Recipe
  • Appendix II: Emil Dupont Provides a Small Surprise


to be added




  • Bernice has been sent a review copy of Franz Kryptosa's Lost Gods and the Fall of Empire.


  • Several artificial life forms including ARVID and the Cat's Paw are from the Catan Nebula.

Foods and beverages[]


  • Mention is made that humans first made contact with aliens in the 22nd century.



  • Plumptious Minor is a (formerly) isolated Earth colony whose society is based largely on innuendo.



  • Years after the book out of print, Stone republished it with the Benny Summerfield references removed and the lead character renamed Pandora Delbane. An ebook of this story was released on the Amazon Kindle store on 9 December 2015.


External links[]