Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte series
by Arthur W. Upfield

Guide by
Robert Wilfred Franson

 

   February 2004

  

Detective-Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte is the Australian half-caste hero of Arthur Upfield's superb mystery series: adventures of detection mostly set in the Australian Outback. Below is a simple checklist to the twenty-nine Bony novels, in order published. Titles vary among Australian, British, and American publishers; first publication date is followed by the original title, then alternate, more-generic titles if any.

The Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte novels need not be read in order — the plots are almost entirely independent — but generally it's better to read earlier ones first as they develop more character and background about Bony himself, as well as about the Queensland interior where his own complementary nature is developed so beautifully.
  

To my taste at least, there's quite a spread of quality across the series, with the best books generally being those where Bony's character, background, and skills all work together to best detective and artistic advantage: in the wide open Outback where the land seems empty only to those who do not look closely.

The Bone Is Pointed often is rated the very best and illuminates much of Bony's mind and character. Another of my favorites, Death of a Lake, also has the distinctive dry air of the Outback.
  

The Murchison Murders [and other essays] provides some interesting background material about camels and rabbits as well as murders — in one case, entirely too pertinent!
  


  
1929     The Barrakee Mystery = The Lure of the Bush
1931     The Sands of Windee  
1936 Wings Above the Diamantina = Wings Above the Claypan;
= Winged Mystery
1937 Mr Jelly's Business = Murder Down Under
1937 Winds of Evil  
1938 The Bone Is Pointed  
1939 The Mystery of Swordfish Reef  
1940 Bushranger of the Skies = No Footprints in the Bush
1945 Death of a Swagman  
1946 The Devil's Steps  
1948 An Author Bites the Dust  
1950 The Widows of Broome  
1955 The Mountains Have a Secret  
1951 The New Shoe  
1952 Venom House  
1953 Murder Must Wait  
1954 Death of a Lake  
1955 Cake in the Hat Box = Sinister Stones
1956 The Battling Prophet  
1956 Man of Two Tribes  
1957 Bony Buys a Woman = The Bushman Who Came Back
1958 The Bachelors of Broken Hill  
1959 Bony and the Mouse = Journey to the Hangman
1959 Bony and the Black Virgin = The Torn Branch
1959 Bony and the White Savage  
1960 Bony and the Kelly Gang = Valley of the Smugglers
1962 The Will of the Tribe  
1963 Madman's Bend = The Body at Madman's Bend
1966 The Lake Frome Monster    [posthumous collaboration]

  

© 2004 Robert Wilfred Franson


  
Kees de Hoog's conjectural
Australia map keyed to Bony adventures
(novels listed alphabetically)
&   'Life of Bony' novel chronology
  

  
Geoscience Australia's
Landsat Picture Mosaic Map of Australia

Detection at Troynovant
solving mysteries; detective agencies
  


  

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