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Beat Not The Bones (Paperback)

3.36  ·  Rating Details  ·  76 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Suicide or murder? Newly arrived in Papua, where even the luscious vegetation seems to conspire with the bureaucrats to bewilder her, Stella Warwick is determined to prove her husband did not take his own life. Defying the patronising concern of officials, she ventures deep into the jungle, striding ever closer to the horrifying heart of the mystery
Paperback, 160 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Soho Crime (first published 1952)
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The first winner of the Edgar for Best Novel, this book by an Australian writer is set in Papua New Guinea shortly after WWII. Although it has an excellent sense of atmosphere and setting, I found the psychological thriller to be far less than thrilling, and couldn't begin to care about the characters.
As they say in Minnesota..."That was different!" Although the book contains a mystery, which is solved by the end of the book (although with a loose end or two left hanging), it is primarily a psyc
Pam Whiteside
Mar 28, 2016 Pam Whiteside rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading all the Edgar Mystery award winners

Very interesting early Edgar winner. Macabre 50's mystery set in Papua New Guinea. Oddly anti-colonial but also racist IMHO relative to modern mores.
This a classic mystery, widely acclaimed, but my feelings about it are mixed, so I've given it a medium kind of rating. It could have gone up or down as much as two stars. Stella, whose father has just died in Australia, arrives in Papua New Guinea to find the truth of her much older husband's suicide. She is naive and trustful of people she believes to have been David's friends, but gradually realizes that everyone is lying to her. The only person she can trust at all is a man she initially dis ...more
Kim Fay
Mar 07, 2014 Kim Fay rated it it was amazing
The very first Edgar-award winning book (1952) ... and it's written by a woman! A woman who, I would like to point out, rivals Graham Greene in this novel of psychological suspense. When a young Australian woman's husband commits suicide in New Guinea, she travels there to find out the truth. Stella is certain that he was murdered, but the more she comes under the spell of the tropical heat, expatriate eccentricities and native superstitions, she is not sure what to believe. Jay does an exceptio ...more
Madeleine McDonald
Apr 07, 2016 Madeleine McDonald rated it it was amazing
Published in 1952, set on an island administered by Australia. In the late 40s and early 50s, Europeans and Australians despised the islanders and considered them primitive and unteachable - although that does not stop certain characters in the book half-believing in the power of vada, or native magic. Isolation and a torrid climate drive some Australians insane. Others lose their moral compass.

When young, naive Emma (Emma in my edition, not Stella) arrives from Australia, convinced her much old
David Sarkies
Mar 30, 2014 David Sarkies rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
Recommended to David by: I wouldn't say recommended, I would say prescribed
Shelves: dark
Thoughts on suicide and colonialism
13 April 2012

This is one of the books that I read for English I and considering some of the reviews that the book received, it seems as if I will be the odd one out on the grounds that I simply did not like it. However a lot of people have compared this book with Heart of Darkness, and that was a book that I really did like. I have put Heart of Darkness on the list of books to read again, so I will try not to say too much about it here. I guess it is because I
Feb 08, 2014 Ellen rated it really liked it
The very first winner of the Edgar Award for Best Novel was this second novel by an Australian writer whose real name was Geraldine Halls. BEAT NOT THE BONES is a deceptively simple book about a young widow's trip to New Guinea in an effort to prove that her husband, New Guinea's Chief Anthropologist, did not commit suicide. Her quest for the truth takes her deep into the jungle, to discover truths as horrifying as anything Joseph Conrad ever wrote.
David Rickert
Jun 08, 2011 David Rickert rated it really liked it
What would happen if you took the themes of Heart of Darkness and wrote a book for beach readers? And added a mystery to it? You'd get "Beat Not the Bones," the first Edgar Award Winner. Stella Warwick is the book's Marlowe, heading into Papua New Guinea to figure out why her husband committed suicide. Along the way she meets a handful of characters that have all been corrupted by the wilderness; in attempting to tame the wilderness and the people, they have lost their souls. The description of ...more
Tom Kammerer
Mar 28, 2016 Tom Kammerer rated it liked it
Shelves: edgars
Vivid portrayal of scene but not a lot of action
Nov 23, 2010 Felicia rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Felicia by:
I didn't expect that this book would be exceptionally good. However, it won the first Edgar Award for Best Novel, so I wanted to give it a try. In fact, it turned out to be amazingly good. Imagine "Heart of Darkness" but without all the boring parts (and a mystery). The setting is fascinating, the main character is great, and where the plot goes is unexpected. Also, this is a great commentary on colonialism. It might be kind of hard to find, but it is well worth the effort.
Jun 27, 2008 Emily rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, mystery
Sounded like it was going to be so, so good. It wasn't. How can a book be interesting but, ultimately, so dull? I had to keep forcing myself to pick it up. I'd have abandoned it if I hadn't been reading it for a book discussion group.
Kurt Wasiluk
Dec 27, 2013 Kurt Wasiluk rated it it was ok
Waste Not Your Time
Apr 22, 2012 Annie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-thriller
my foster daugter turned me on to this book, an excellent read!
Aug 30, 2007 Giovanna rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookgroup, mystery
Winner of the first Edgar Award...takes place in Papua New Guinea
Jun 01, 2012 Linden rated it liked it
Edgar award winner set in 1952 New Guinea. Colorful descriptions.
Aug 14, 2012 Mary rated it really liked it
Winner of the first Edgar Award for best novel.
Apr 20, 2012 Kate rated it it was ok
Not good.
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Charlotte Jay was the pseudonym adopted by Australian mystery writer and novelist, Geraldine Halls. One of the best and most singular authors of the suspense era, she wrote only nine crime books, but their unorthodoxy secured her a high place in Mystery Hall of Fame.

Jay was born as Geraldine Mary Jay in Melville in Adelaide, South Australia on December 17, 1919. She attended Girton School (now Pem
More about Charlotte Jay...

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