Two men have been beaten to death in the drought-stricken Australian outback, and it's up to Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte to find the murderer and the motive. But by the time he arrives it's been six months since the men died, and Bony (as his friends call him) must search doggedly among the sunbaked landscape to find clues. Despite his perfect track record, this might be his toughest case yet. Arthur Upfield's vivid writing gives the outback the presence of another character, while the talented Peter Hosking’s gruff yet gentle voice makes the story a pleasure to hear.
Detective-Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte is called to the drought-stricken outback for this, his latest case.
At a desolate sheep station, two men have been savagely beaten to death, and it's Bony's job to make an arrest. This isn't an easy case, since clues are scarce in this sun-baked, sand-blown country, but Bony's understanding of the bush and the people who live there – both black and white – leads him inexorably to the killer.
More mayhem? Listen to another Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte Mystery.
©1971 Arthur Upfield (P)2010 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
"Bony – a unique figure among top-flight detectives." (BBC)
If you are looking to get started on this series, I would suggest looking elsewhere. You can find lists of original publication order online. While the books stand alone, there are some recurring characters and references to past cases that are missed if you jump around. That said, I started with Mr. Jelly's Business, which is representative of the series. Death of a Swagman and An Author Bites the Dust are both pretty good samples as well.
If you have thoroughly enjoyed hearing of Bony's exploits, you will probably have listened to this one without bothering to read reviews. :)
This is one of the later books in the Bony series (I do wish these were ordered as other series are on this site), and it is the worst I've read/heard. The plot is, at the same time, predictable, affectedly convoluted, ill-thought out and peculiar (but somehow not engagingly so). It comes across as almost ideological. The characters are underdeveloped and unsympathetic (mostly). While Bony is always the lead in these stories, the secondary lead is always the setting. Usually, they make a most compelling team. In this book, however, they both seemed flat.
The book has an overall feel of having been a slight experiment, or moment of inspiration, that was rushed in order to get it over with as quickly as possible (i feel the same way abou Agatha Christie's The Big Four). While it is not hugely different in concept from the formula of the other books, the changes seem to be part of the reason it falls short. Don't get me wrong, I like change, but I prefer it to be for the better.
There is also considerably more vitriol in this book. This is only the second book in the series where the publishers warning of racism and sexism seemed apt. (Not that these themes don't show up in the other books; it is a subtle difference that requires more thought than I can voice here.) If you know you will not be able to look past offensive language and actions in the name of accurate depiction, you should probably give the whole series a miss.
As always, Peter Hosking does a fantastic job bringIng to life the people and the setting. There just wasn't much life in the story to begin with.
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