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y separately published work icon Bony series - author   novel   crime   detective   mystery  
Alternative title: Inspector Bonaparte Mystery; Napoleon Bonaparte Mystery; Boney
Issue Details: First known date: 1929... 1929 Bony
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

As described by Upfield within the series of 29 novels based on the detective Napoleon Bonaparte, Bony was a foundling born of an Aboriginal mother and a white father and raised in a mission. An exceptional student, he won scholarships to secondary school and university but later abandoned the 'white' culture to return to his mother's people and become initiated into their tribe. The issue of living half-way between two cultures lies at the very centre of Bony's existence and provides his character with a rich complexity of attributes - intellect, cunning, arrogance, compassion and an inherent understanding of the land and of ancient bushcraft. His career as a policeman began after helping solve an outback murder. Recognising his exceptional skills, the Queensland police persuaded him to join the force and he quickly rose to the rank of Detective Inspector. His talents are such that he is often loaned to other state to help solve outback crimes.

Adaptations

form y separately published work icon Boney ( dir. Peter Maxwell et. al. )agent 1972 Australia : Fauna Productions Seven Network , 1972-1973 Z1371951 1972 series - publisher film/TV crime

A television series based on the twenty-nine novels by Arthur Upfield about fictional Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte. Originally broadcast on the Seven Network in 1972 and 1973, the series was titled Boney rather than Upfield's original spelling ('Bony') in order to clarify its pronunciation [all references to the film character therefore retain the alternate spelling].

As described by Upfield, Boney is a foundling, born of an Aboriginal mother and a white father and raised in a mission. An exceptional student, he won scholarships to secondary school and university, but later abandoned the 'white' culture to return to his mother's people and become initiated into their tribe. The issue of living half-way between two cultures lies at the very centre of Boney's existence and provides his character with a rich complexity of attributes: intellect, cunning, arrogance, compassion, and an inherent understanding of the land and of ancient bushcraft. His career as a policeman began after he helped solve an outback murder. Recognising his exceptional skills, the Queensland Police persuaded him to join the force, and he quickly rose to the rank of Detective Inspector. His talents are such that he is often loaned to other states to help solve outback crimes.

Several significant, though not overly problematic, changes were made to the television adaptation. In the Upfield books, Boney is aged in his fifties and married with three sons. He also smokes his own very poorly constructed hand-rolled cigarettes. For the television series, however, Boney is in his early thirties and unmarried. He also doesn't smoke. Another departure from the Upfield books is the inclusion of a regular female offsider, Constable Alice McGorr, who appears throughout most of the second series. McGorr was brought in to help solve an issue that the screen writers had struggled with during much of the first series: finding opportunities to have Boney talk and particularly to explain his reasoning or concerns. The omniscient writing style of Upfield's novels complemented Boney's solo methods of investigation well, but it created problems for the screenwriters in terms of dialogue. The answer was to provide a companion. The producers eventually decided on the character of McGorr, whom Upfield had introduced in the novel Murder Must Wait. The added advantage in this strategy, too, was McGorr provides a strong feminine perspective and, as Boney was now unmarried, a touch of sexual tension.

Notes

  • This series of novels featuring Upfield's Aboriginal detective, Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte was dramatised for television by Fauna Productions in association with Norfolk International Productions. The producers spelled the protagonist's name 'Boney' for international marketing purposes (to avoid it being pronounced 'Bonny.'). The original spelling in Upfield's novels is 'Bony'. [Source: interview with producer John McCallum, Classic Australian Television website q.v.]

  • A second television series, produced by Grundy Australian Productions and TaurusFilm, was aired in 1992. This production has no connection with the 1972-73 television series and is very loosely based on Upfield's Bony character and stories. In this respect, actor Cameron Daddo initially portrayed his character as a descendant of the original Detective Bonaparte, but following protests from Aboriginal groups the role was modified and he became simply a white man who once lived with Aboriginals.

Includes

y separately published work icon Winds of Evil Arthur W. Upfield , 1937 single work novel crime
y separately published work icon The Sands of Windee Arthur W. Upfield , Z1515870 1931 single work novel crime detective

'An Inspector Bonaparte Mystery featuring Bony, the first Aboriginal detective. Why had Luke Marks driven specially out to Windee? Had he been murdered or had he,as the local police believed, wandered away from his car and been overwhelmed in a dust-storm? When Bony noticed something odd in the background of a police photograph, he begins to piece together the secrets of the sands of Windee. Here is the original background to the infamous Snowy Rowles murder trial.'

y separately published work icon Death of a Swagman Arthur W. Upfield , New York (City) : Doubleday , 1945 Z258342 1945 single work novel crime detective mystery

'Merino is an isolated town in New South Wales. Posing as a laborer, Bony goes there to investigate the murder of a vagrant and soon discovers a murderous tangle of motives and suspects. There are some very engaging characters and some excellent trakcing scenes leading to a suspenseful finish.'(Publication summary)

y separately published work icon Mr Jelly's Business Arthur W. Upfield , 1932 Z1369404 1932 single work novel crime
y separately published work icon Venom House Arthur W. Upfield , New York (City) : Doubleday , 1952 Z283537 1952 single work novel crime detective mystery
— Appears in: Vrazda musi pockat ; Vola kmena ; Prekliaty dom 1988; (p. Page numbers unavailable)

'The Answerth family's mansion seems to deserve its nickname of Venom House - perhaps because of its forbidding setting, an island in the centre of a man-made lake, its treacherous waters studded by the skeletons of long-dead trees. Perhaps it's because of the unquiet ghosts of the Aboriginals slaughtered by the Answerth ancestors. Whatever the reason, most people are content to give Venom House and its occupants a wide berth... until a couple of corpses turn up in the lake. Inspector Bonaparte has a sudden urge to get to knows the Answerths and their charming home much better... ' (Publication summary)

y separately published work icon Journey to the Hangman Arthur W. Upfield , London Melbourne : Heinemann , 1959 Z290793 1959 single work novel crime mystery detective
— Appears in: Bony a mys ; Po stope novej topanky ; Stari mladenci z Broken Hillu 1976; (p. Page numbers unavailable)

— Appears in: Boni I Myshka [and] Leiik-Froumskiii Koshmar 1996;
y separately published work icon The Widows of Broome Arthur W. Upfield , New York (City) : Doubleday , 1950 Z302329 1950 single work novel crime
— Appears in: Trikrat Napoleon Bonaparte 1977; (p. Page numbers unavailable)

'Broome is a small, sun-drenched town on the barren northwest coast of Australia. It's small enough that everyone knows everyone else's business. How, then, did someone murder two widows in similar fashion and not leave any clues? It's a case for Detective-Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte, who arrives on the scene incognito. He's barely begun his investigation when a third woman is killed. Bony realises that he is dealing with a madman, and that time is running out to stop a forth murder.'(Publication summary)

y separately published work icon The Lake Frome Monster Arthur W. Upfield , London : Heinemann , 1966 Z371056 1966 single work novel crime detective
— Appears in: Boni I Myshka [and] Leiik-Froumskiii Koshmar 1996;
y separately published work icon The Barrakee Mystery Arthur W. Upfield , 1929 single work novel crime

'Why was the redoubtable King Henry, an aborigine from Western Australia, killed during a thunderstorm in New South Wales? — What was the feud that led to murder after nineteen long years had passed? — Who was the woman who saw the murder and kept silent? — This first story of Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte, the half-aborigine detective, takes him to a sheep station in the Darling River bush country where he encounters those problems he understands so well – mixed blood and divided loyalties.' (Source: Goodreads website)

y separately published work icon Valley of Smugglers Arthur W. Upfield , London Melbourne : Heinemann , 1960 Z413872 1960 single work novel crime mystery detective
y separately published work icon An Author Bites the Dust Arthur W. Upfield , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1948 Z62594 1948 single work novel crime mystery detective
y separately published work icon Wings above the Diamantina Arthur W. Upfield , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1936 Z558666 1936 single work novel crime detective 'The discovery of a stolen red monoplane on the dry, flat bottom of Emu Lake meant many things for different folks. For Elizabeth Nettlefold, the chance to nurse its strangely ill meant renewed purpose in life. For Dr Knowles, brilliant physician and town drunk, it meant the revival of a romantic dream. For some it meant a murder plan gone awry, and for Bonaparte, it meant one of the toughest cases of his career. ' (Publication summary)
y separately published work icon Death of a Lake Arthur W. Upfield , London Melbourne : Heinemann , 1954 Z86178 1954 single work novel crime detective mystery

'On a vast sheep station in the outback, Raymond Gillen goes swimming in the lake one night and is never seen again. After the failure of local police to solve the mystery, bony arrives disguised as a horse-breaker, and uncovers a story of sexual tension and murder. The lake is evaporating in the intense drought - only when it dies will the mystery be solved. Apart from its strengths as a crime novel, this is probably the best book ever written about drought in Australia.' (Publication summary) 

y separately published work icon Bushranger of the Skies Arthur W. Upfield , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1940 Z849009 1940 single work novel crime detective 'An extraordinary case for Detective-Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte opens when a police car is bombed from the air on a lonely outback road by a mysterious pilot who plans to conquer a nation.

'The trail through the land of burning waters tests Bonys endurance to the limit and takes the detective as close to death as he has ever been. Welcome to Central Australia!' (Publication summary)
y separately published work icon The White Savage Arthur W. Upfield , London Melbourne : Heinemann , 1961 Z961932 1961 single work novel mystery detective crime
y separately published work icon The Will of the Tribe Arthur W. Upfield , London Melbourne : Heinemann , 1962 Z962007 1962 single work novel mystery detective crime
— Appears in: Vrazda musi pockat ; Vola kmena ; Prekliaty dom 1988; (p. Page numbers unavailable)
This adventure of Inspector Napoleon (Bony) Bonaparte is set in North Western Australia; it deals with a corpse in a meteor crater and with vital information hidden behind the impassive mask of an aboriginal tribe, where only the half-black Bony has any hope of reaching it. The interplay between whites and blacks, from assimilated to wholly wild, is subtly and sensitively handled, and Bony emerges as one of the rare detective figures with genuine stature as a man. As in most Upfield novels, the geography, the geology and the cultural anthropology of Australia are living elements in the story (Cover, Collier 1984 ed.).
y separately published work icon The Mystery of Swordfish Reef Arthur W. Upfield , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1939 Z101751 1939 single work novel crime mystery detective 'An intriguing case for Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte begins on a calm October day in an Australian seaside town. Three men set out to sea for a day's fishing...and do not return. Despite intensive searches, no trace of the men or their boat is found until, weeks later, a passing trawler hauls in a gruesome catch - the head of one of the missing fishermen. It is quite clear that its owner was murdered with a pistol bullet. But by whom and why is for Bony to find out.' - (back cover, 1983 Arkon Paperback).
y separately published work icon The Devil's Steps Arthur W. Upfield , New York (City) : Doubleday , 1946 Z1174558 1946 single work novel detective
y separately published work icon The New Shoe Arthur W. Upfield , Z1507432 1951 single work novel detective crime mystery
— Appears in: Bony a mys ; Po stope novej topanky ; Stari mladenci z Broken Hillu 1976; (p. Page numbers unavailable)

'The naked body of a man is discovered entombed in the wall of the Split Point Lighthouse on Australia's southeast coast; the murder is two months old, and the identity of the victim is unknown. Of Split Point's suspicious inhabitants, only Ed Penwarden, the coffin-maker, befriends Bony upon his arrival. As he delves into the case, Bony is curious to know why a coffin is moved in the night, who was the girl seen struggling with Dick Lake on the cliff top--and why the Bully Buccaneers came to deal in death.' (Publication summary)

y separately published work icon Sinister Stones Arthur W. Upfield , New York (City) : Doubleday , 1954 Z1175739 1954 single work novel mystery crime
— Appears in: Trikrat Napoleon Bonaparte 1977; (p. Page numbers unavailable)

— Appears in: Sovremennyi avstraliiskii detektiv 1990;
y separately published work icon The Bachelors of Broken Hill Gli scapoli di Broken Hill Arthur W. Upfield , New York (City) : Doubleday , 1950 Z143676 1950 single work novel crime mystery detective
— Appears in: Bony a mys ; Po stope novej topanky ; Stari mladenci z Broken Hillu 1976; (p. Page numbers unavailable)

'Among the 28,000 inhabitants of Broken Hill there stalks a killer. Already two elderly bachelors have died horribly from cyanide poisoning. Now, two months later, Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte faces a cold trail - no motive, no clues. So Bony waits for what he believes to be inevitable - a third killing. ' (Publication summary)

y separately published work icon Man of Two Tribes Arthur W. Upfield , London Melbourne : Heinemann , 1956 Z152501 1956 single work novel crime detective Bony discovers a group of people imprisoned in limestone underground caves and must free them and lead them to safety.
y separately published work icon The Battling Prophet Arthur W. Upfield , 1955 Z1363904 1955 single work novel crime mystery detective

'Detective-Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte is on leave, staying with an old friend near Adelaide. Ben Wickham, a meteorologist whose uncannily accurate forecasts have helped farmers all over Australia, until recently lived nearby. But he has died after a three week drinking binge and a doctor certified death resulting from delirium tremens. Yet Bony's host insists that whatever Ben died of, it wasn't alcohol.' (Publication summary)

y separately published work icon The Body at Madman's Bend Arthur W. Upfield , London Melbourne : Heinemann , 1963 Z201367 1963 single work novel crime mystery detective
y separately published work icon The Mountains Have a Secret Arthur W. Upfield , New York (City) : Doubleday , 1948 Z202956 1948 single work novel crime detective
— Appears in: Detective Fiction , January vol. 1 no. 2 1949; (p. 43-64)
'Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte travels to Victoria, where two young women have disappeared while hiking in the Grampians. Not long after the search for the girls is called off, a local detective is found shot dead.

'Bony visits the hotel the women were last seen at, and meets the hotel's unsavoury proprietor. The resulting encounter propels Bony into an investigation which almosts costs him his life.' (Publication summary)

 
y separately published work icon Bony and the Black Virgin Arthur W. Upfield , London : Heinemann , 1959 Z205233 1959 single work novel crime mystery detective
y separately published work icon Murder Must Wait Arthur W. Upfield , Z1507440 1953 single work novel crime mystery detective
— Appears in: Vrazda musi pockat ; Vola kmena ; Prekliaty dom 1988; (p. Page numbers unavailable)
y separately published work icon The Bushman Who Came Back Arthur W. Upfield , London Melbourne : Heinemann , 1957 Z209419 1957 single work novel crime mystery detective
— Appears in: Bestseller Mystery Magazine , April vol. 3 no. 2/226 1961; (p. 4-109)

— Appears in: Trikrat Napoleon Bonaparte 1977; (p. Page numbers unavailable)
y separately published work icon The Bone Is Pointed Arthur W. Upfield , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1938 Z211356 1938 single work novel crime

'Jack Anderson was a big man with a foul temper, a sadist and a drunk. Five months after his horse appeared riderless, no trace of the man has surfaced and no one seems to care. But Bony is determined to follow the cold trail and smoke out some answers.' (Publication summary)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

First known date: 1929
      1929-1960 .

Works about this Work

Making a Meal of It : Food as a Symbol of Degrees of Fiction in the Novels of Arthur Upfield Rachel Franks , Alistair Rolls , 2018 single work criticism
— Appears in: Blood on the Table : Essays on Food in International Crime Fiction 2018; (p. 150-162)

In this chapter 'Rachel Franks and Alistair Rolls investigate food and its role in two of Australian Upfield's Napoleon Bonaparte novels. In particular, they examine food as an important element of storytelling, as well as a signal of indigenous identity, gender relations, ethnicity and class lines. In addition, Franks and Rolls discuss the ways in which food brings literary reflexivity into focus.' (Introduction 10)

The Meaning of Food in Crime Fiction Jean Anderson , Barbara Pezzotti , Carolina Miranda , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: The Conversation , 24 August 2018;

'In English, we might claim we could “murder a good steak”. Italian and Spanish speakers might “kill for a coffee”, and Germans refer to acute hunger as Mordshunger or murderhunger – but do people really kill for food?' '

Crime Scenes : The Importance of Place in Australian Crime Fiction Michael X. Savvas , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journeying and Journalling : Creative and Critical Meditations on Travel Writing 2010; (p. 204-213)
'There are eight million stories about crime fiction. And this is one of them. There are two main ways in which writers use place in crime fiction. The first way is to use place to help create a certain mood and atmosphere. The second way is to use the geographical or physical features of a place imaginatively as a plot device. Sometimes the journeys that are made by characters in crime fiction serve to remind us as readers of these two major devices. Although historically a lot of Australian crime fiction has not focused on place in terms of setting, this is changing as Australia continues to change. (Author's introduction, 204)
y separately published work icon Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte: His Life and Times Michael Duke , Newcastle upon Tyne : Cambridge Scholars Press , 2010 Z1738030 2010 single work criticism 'Bony was a "blacktracker" who became a police inspector and worked throughout mainland Australia. Ranging across five of Australia's States, Dr Duke pursued Bony's trail through desert and coast. He has tracked through the bush, its wonderful scenery and characters. He has climbed mountains and swum in inland seas. For the first time the reader can learn of the real Bony and his antecedents. For the first time the Aboriginal background to so many of Bony's cases is revealed' (Publisher website).
Re-Assessing Arthur W. Upfield's Napoleon Bonaparte Detective Fiction John Ramsland , Marie Ramsland , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Mostly French : French (in) Detective Fiction 2009; (p. 93-120) Investigating Arthur Upfield : A Centenary Collection of Critical Essays 2012; (p. 222-245)
Inspecting Women: Arthur W. Upfield and Napoleon Bonaparte Winona Howe , 2004 single work criticism
— Appears in: Antipodes , June vol. 18 no. 1 2004; (p. 77-79) Investigating Arthur Upfield : A Centenary Collection of Critical Essays 2012; (p. 195-201)
Howe examines Upfield's relationships with women and looks also at the portrayal of women in his Bony novels. She concludes that 'Both Upfield and his fictional detective are continually caught in predicaments they find confusing' and contends that the two respond as they do partly 'because they are both outsiders'.
y separately published work icon Eccentric Minds : A Novel Graham Jackson , Albury : Letao , 2004 Z1177479 2004 single work novel crime detective 'If you have read any of the Bony novels by Arthur Upfield, then you may already have met some of the characters in this book. The Albury College on the Murray River, a Protestant School for Boys, educates sons from the outback of Victoria and New South Wales in Australia. The Head is Hugh Trench from Windee Station, ably assisted by his wife, Marion. The Deputy Head is the Rev. James from Merino near the Walls of China, as ever supported by his wife, Lucy. In the heat of late summer in 1955, Ralph Dugdale arrives at the private boarding school to teach English and atone for the murder of King Henry at Barrakee Station in 1927. At the school are a new Music teacher, Cora Benson from the Grampian Mountains; the Drama teacher, Henrietta Dalton from Broken Hill; and the Master of Upfield House, Mr Jelly from Western Australia. Indeed most of the staff have mysterious backgrounds. By the end of the school year the past will have caught up with several of them '(Publisher blurb 2010 edition).
Arthur W. Upfield's Detective Inspector Napoleon Katrin Fischer , 2004-2005 single work criticism
— Appears in: Mystery Readers Journal , Winter vol. 20 no. 4 2004-2005; (p. 8-11)
y separately published work icon Arthur W. Upfield Kees De Hoog , 2004- Z1370046 2004- website Excellent and informative website providing biographical and bibliographical information and links to several other websites, including some with large numbers of cover images of numerous different editions, and one hosted by the University of Miami titled The Dingo's Breakfast Club, which contains a special page devoted to the Arthur Upfield Bony stories(this includes natural history information and links relating to the geography of areas where Arthur Upfield sets his stories and a glossary of Australian terms found in the stories). There are also links to freely available articles and theses on Upfield.
form y separately published work icon A Man Called Boney Sydney : Australian Television Network , 1972 Z1398272 1972 single work film/TV A documentary produced by the ATN-7 (Sydney) news and current affairs departments, A Man Called Boney is a forty-five-minute film that focuses on the cast and crew as they make the series in outback Australia. It also features preview scenes from the series and interviews with producers John McCallum and Lee Robinson (who discuss aspects of Arthur Upfield's novels and the production itself). James Laurenson also examines the character of Boney.
Last amended 23 Jun 2010 17:48:01
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