|Death||shot and covered with molten lead|
Appearing in The Truth, Mr. Tulip is the muscular side of the New Firm (the other partner being Mr. Pin), a duo that provides unusual services best negotiated in the dark. Mr. Tulip is fast and almost clean when it comes to hitting people (except for the blood that inevitably splatters all over the place); people hit by Mr. Tulip remain hit and often advance to being dead. To Mr. Tulip, the best solution for every problem, and the best method to carry out any business, is to scrag somebody. This inclination to always employ violence is one of the reasons that Mr. Pin's intellectual input is necessary for the continued operation of the New Firm.
The other reason that Mr. Pin gives Mr. Tulip some advice is that Mr. Tulip desperately wants a drug habit. He pays big money for anything (mostly in powder form) in little baggies and tries to sniff them. Often this leads to choking, spraying of ground mothballs, bloodshot and spinning eyeballs, and more, but virtually never the mood-altering effects.
Like many criminals of his type, Mr. Tulip's first name and personal history are unknown. In fact, in Mr. Tulip's case, most of these are unknown to himself. Mr. Pin has observed that Mr. Tulip screams in his sleep. Something very bad happening in his childhood probably caused his wish to have a drug habit. He exists in a state of barely controlled rage.
Mr. Tulip has a mind that is, in some ways, simple. He thinks that killing people is the best method of work. He does not curse, though his speech impediment which makes him say "-ing" in strategic places, prompts people to believe he does. Something he vehemently denies, when confronted; "I don't -ing swear!" (The dash is an actual silence, not a censored syllable.) The only side that Mr. Pin has observed in Mr. Tulip that's not simple is an extensive knowledge of art. Mr. Tulip is an art connoisseur who can accurately identify valuable antiques. He does not, however, use this knowledge for the businesses of the New Firm.
It seems that Mr. Tulip and Mr. Pin are parodies of Neil Gaiman's characters, Mr. Vandemar and Mr. Croup ("The Old Firm") who are hired assassins in Neverwhere. Although in Neverwhere, it is Mr. Croup, the small one, who is an Art connoisseur. However, Terry has denied this, saying that they are rather parodies of all two-man crime teams everywhen.
Mr. Tulip and Mr. Pin's conversation about sausages in a bun as translated in Quirm is reminiscent of the dialogue between Vince Vega's (John Travolta) and Jules Winfield's (Samuel L. Jackson) discussion of a Big Mac and how it is said in France in Pulp Fiction. Another similarity with Pulp Fiction is that one of them owns a wallet that says something resembling "Bad Mother Fucker.", and at some point an argument is brought up where it is stated that "A dog has got personality. Personality counts for a lot", which is another quote from the Pulp Fiction pair.
Sparse notes in Mr. Tulip's encounter with Death sound a lot like they may have been drawn from the accounts of massacres like the one at Oradour-sur-Glane in France during WWII (women and children sealed inside a church, which was then smoke bombed and torched). The reference to him as a child of 3 waiting inside a church (previously, he has recalled a scene with slats nailed over the doors) with women crying and waiting for the soldiers, and the idea that, when a war has gone on long enough, it doesn't matter which side the soldiers are on, sound very similar to accounts like this.
Mr. Tulip's alias when he went undercover, so as not to draw attention to himself and blend in perfectly with the city around him, was that of a nun called Sister Jennifer. The fact that a very burly six-foot-plus nun was walking around with an advanced five o'clock shadow, with "her" eyes rotating in opposite directions, whilst small flashes of lightning were spontaneously emitting from her nostrils, and nobody noticed anything out of the ordinary, says a lot for what passes for normal in Ankh-Morpork. This may well be a reference to the song Sister Josephine by the English singer-songwriter Jake Thackray (1938-2002).