Ace, Nov 2004, 24.95, 384 pp.
In the far distant future, a dwarf star is crashing into the Delta Karpis System so a fleet of ships leave when the danger becomes too great. One vessel, the Polaris, carries six dignitaries, but instead of departing the danger zone, it remains inside the doomed system. Later a spaceship investigates to find the Polaris but without the six passengers or the pilot.
A century later on the planet Rimway, an exhibit of the Polaris which includes recovered objects from the doomed ship is about to go on display or be sold off to antique dealers. Alex Benedict and his associate Chase Kalpath buy several of the items before evacuating the building due to a bomb scare that turns real when an explosion destroy the building and all it contained. The only Polaris artifacts left are those Alex and Chase purchased. Suddenly people with no real identity are asking to look at the artifacts and when Chae and Alex start investigating what they are looking for in the items, people start trying to kill Alex and Chase. They spend the rest of the book trying to figure out who is tring to kill them and why and how it relates to the vanishings on the Polaris a century ago.
Although Polaris occurs in the future in outer space thus providing a science fiction background, the story line is a classic style investigative tale with Alex serving as an amateur sleuth Holmes and Chase as Watson. The likeable duo hooks readers as they struggle to find out what is going on and why.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner