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Murder Down Under
Arthur W. Upfield
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Murder Down Under (Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte #4)

4.01  ·  Rating Details  ·  303 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
Bony is the sort of detective who enjoys nothing better on a holiday than a little informal investigation. When he agrees to help a colleague in the matter of the disappearance of George Loftus, a farmer whose car was found wrecked near the world's longest fence in the wheat country of Australia, he cannot immediately find evidence of the murder he suspects.
Hardcover, 0 pages
Published March 1st 1999 by Amereon Limited (first published 1937)
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I always enjoy listening to these mysteries. I’m not sure whether this one was a bit harder to follow than usual, or whether I was just doing more tasks that involved a bit more brain input than usual when listening to it, but I found this one a bit more difficult to follow than some of the others.

It is interesting that this fourth book in the series has had two titles and both seem strange choices. Mr Jelly’s Business is what the audiobook I listened to was called, and there was a mystery about
Kirsty Darbyshire
This is the first Upfield mystery I've read and I found it surprisingly readable. The story takes place in 1931 and I always expect to have to climb over language hurdles before I get into the swing of old books. This book was an easy read from the beginning and I enjoyed the simple style of the writing.

It wasn't explained how Inspector Napolean Bonaparte came by his moniker but I was pleased to find that he prefers to go by "Bony". I get the impression that writing a series featuring a half cas

Stefani Akins
Apr 15, 2014 Stefani Akins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What brought Arthur Upfield to my attention, I can't even remember, but having just finished Murder Down Under, I'm glad that whatever it was did. Arthur W. Upfied was born in Great Britain but moved to Australia at the age of 20 where luckily, his curiosity about his new home heavily influenced the series of crime fiction books he was about to write. Murder Down Under was first released in 1937, giving the reader thus a fascinating look into life in rural Western Australia during the Great Depr ...more
Jun 02, 2014 Lucy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Into this hall from the town and the outlying farms had come good-looking women and strong, well-set-up men, an A-1 standard of physique rarely seen in the older countries and the Australian cities. From the farm districts and from the vast bushlands beyond had emerged in 1914 that Australian army whose physical perfection had aroused the admiration of Europe....At the door people separated as though governed by established convention, women occupying the long forms set against one wall and the ...more
Jan C
Apr 15, 2011 Jan C rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up years ago at a used book sale and just had real trouble getting around to reading it. However, once I did, I had trouble putting it down. I took me about 5 days, just reading it on the commute. I kept missing my stop, too.

I believe I will be looking for the others in this series.

Napoleon "Bony" Bonaparte is half-caste (half aboriginal and half white) and an Inspector for the Queensland police. He's on vacation when his young acquaintance, John Muir, asks for his help regarding a
Jul 24, 2014 Zoë rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Upfield is a master at detective novels! And what a likeable, capable character he has in Napoleon Bonepart, "Bony"! He allows the plot to unfold through the actions, lives, relationships and conversations of the characters all the while incorporating Australian First People's culture and ideas. Thoroughly delightful despite the early 20th century prejudice against women and aboriginal people, which the editor warns is not the belief of the publisher, but prevalent at the time of the writing.
Jul 14, 2014 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a marvelously atmospheric tale of life in rural Australia is the 1930's. There are two separate but intertwined mysteries for Bony to solve in his inimitable style.

Farmer George Loftus has gone missing. Is he dead or has he done a bunk? Another farmer, Mr Jelly, periodically disappears also but always comes back a few days later refusing to tell anyone where he has been.

Despite his daft name Napoleon Bonaparte, is a great character and greatly underrated in my opinion. The way Upfield de
Liz Henry
Jul 09, 2014 Liz Henry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This has been my favorite "Bony" mystery so far.

Still incredibly unbelievably racist but complicated and interesting, just be warned you may not be able to stomach it when Bony starts pondering his own potential reversion to a "savage state", which he usually ponders when he faces possible failure -- ie if he doesn't solve a case then he will lose everything about his middle class family life, university education, etc. and have to go live in the bush. So, that is an interesting conflict but the
Elizabeth (Alaska)
In spite of awarding only three stars, I enjoyed this book. The setting is Australia of the early 1930s. The detective, Napoleon Bonaparte, is a "half-caste". That he is well-educated and well-spoken is apparently quite unusual. With that, we get a glimpse of the racism that was prevalent at the time, but also that the settlers are more tolerant than we might expect.

This was written about the time of some of the Agatha Christie's I've read recently. I couldn't help but make a comparison. Bony,
Nancy Oakes
Also published as Murder Down Under; #4 in the Napoleon Bonaparte series set in the Australian outback.

I can honestly highly recommend Mr. Jelly's Business to anyone who a)enjoys a good mystery or b) enjoys reading books set in Australia. As I've noted in previous reviews, you do have to be careful not to judge the book by today's standards, especially when it comes to attitude. Don't forget that this was not originally written in 1982, but many decades earlier.

Brief synopsis:

One night, Mr. Lof
Nancy H
Oct 26, 2013 Nancy H rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had forgotten how much I enjoyed Arthur Upfield's books and especially his Australian detective, Napoleon Bonaparte, known in his stories as Bony. Since I am a big fan of multicultural as well as historical mysteries, several years ago my sister-in-law introduced me to this series, which is set in 1930's Australia. Of half-French, half-aboriginal ancestry, Bony solves his cases using keen intelligence coupled with his innate tracking and other abilities. These books are simply a delight, and i ...more
Oct 02, 2011 Terry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-books
While the "who" & "why" were a little too easy, everything else about this book was intriguing--the unusual "how"; the original detective and the issues of race that Upfield broaches; the detailed prose, especially when the setting is described in beautiful and minute detail; and the plotting. Oh, the plotting!--the novel is fast-paced while the detective also manages to take his time (and emphasizes this to the other characters). When the recon missions are underway to the suspects' house, ...more
Carol Colfer
This was typical Upfield---about Bony, the half indigenous detective who has an uncanny ability to solve crimes, partly by this tracking and observational abilities. I always like these stories, and this was no exception.
Aug 23, 2009 Teri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actually I'm reading The Bachelors of Broken HIll by this author which I plan to finish before I leave for Australia in a couple of days... In preparation I'm reading a quaint mystery written about 1950, titled 'The Bachelors of Broken Hill'. Amy & I might get there. It is part of a series by Arthur Upfield and features a half-aborigine detective named Napoleon Bonaparte. The back cover features a blurb from the 'Times Literary Supplement' that I find irresistible "Arthur Upfield has an extr ...more
Jan 21, 2015 Hana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this about three years ago and just started re-reading it. I think it's one of Australian author Upfield's best (though I've read and enjoyed most of his books). His hero is half-aboriginal and half-white, raised (and improbably named Napoleon Bonaparte) by orphanage nuns. Detective Inspector 'Bony' brings his considerable intellectual gifts, humor and human insights, as well as his native tracking skills to bear on murder near the Rabbit Fence in the Australian Outback. Its set some fift ...more
Julie Defilippi
Mar 24, 2015 Julie Defilippi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bony is a great character. He is a combination of Poirot, Marple and Dundee. I felt like the story was moving a little slow, but I am going to reserve judgement on that because I stopped reading just before the final third due to medical reasons which could be influencing the situation. Looking forward to trying some other Bony books.
Dec 23, 2015 mbattist rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bony investigates a disappearance along the Rabbit Fence and discovers betrayal, greed and a mysterious secret that he'd rather not know
Diana Petty-stone
A 1930's mystery story set in the Australian Outback.
May 13, 2012 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Upfield's writing is lovely and descriptive. It made me long once again to return to Australia's rugged beauty. While not as thrilling as many more recently written mystery stories, it made for a good puzzle. I loved the character of Detective Inspector Bonaparte, and I think if he'd been a real person we might have been good friends. My only real complaints were that the pace seemed a little slow at times, and the very ending was slightly ambiguous. Over all, a very entertaining read.
Louise Woodruff
May 27, 2013 Louise Woodruff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Louise by:
Shelves: mysteries
This is the first "Bony" mystery I've read. It took me a bit of time to get into it. But I was drawn in to the young girls Sunflower and Lisa Jelly, and the mystery of their father's disappearances. Now I am even more curious about Australia. For instance, the significance of the Rabbit Fence. I will definitely try to find more of these mysteries. The main character--"half-caste" is fascinating. Quite a gentleman, he deals with society's racism deftly.
Liz Murray
I was disappointed by the ending but I find that often happens with mystery novels. I found this very well crafted for the most part and it is revealing of the colonial mindset of the time. It lacks in political correctness, which would in fact only serve to mask the genuine feelings of some of the characters. Relationships are fairly well developed and it gives a glimpse into rural life in Western Australia just before the second world war.
Jan 24, 2013 Sally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
I love the Arthur Upfield Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte mysteries, mainly because of the setting in Australia and the portrayal of a half-cast white/aboriginal inspector. The mysteries are good, but I think this is one of the best in the series. You don't find out what IS Mr. Jelly's business until the last paragraph. Peter Hosking does a fine job with the voices and accents in the audiobook recordings by Bolinda Audio.
Jul 08, 2008 Regina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just picked this one of Upfield's books so I could pick one! I have read a few and they were all fascinating. I first picked them up in Australia and have been seeking them out since. A detective who is half aborigine and half white during highly prejudiced times is a real "hook" and the mystery and the Australia setting just add to the pleasure.
Though the story is engaging, the ending is one that I believe most people would guess in advance. But that is of no matter to me as I don't read these stories so much for the plot as I do for the characters and, most especially, the strong sense of place. On that point, the book is worth five stars. Additionally, the narrator is quite good.
Jan 07, 2014 Catherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This who-dunit mystery was set in western Australia in the 1930's.
Eleanor Lux
Apr 26, 2013 Eleanor Lux rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I like this writer . Usually a mystery will get me so excited that I can't read it fast enough but Upfield's books are also enlightening and also thought provoking
Another favorite author of mine is Bruce Chatwin but he's not in the search list. I wonder why?
Jim Stennett
Oct 30, 2014 Jim Stennett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fairly straight forward mystery that was probably a better read in the 1930s & '40s when Australia was a land far away and unknown to most Englishmen and Americans, but still an okay read. I might track more 'Bony' mysteries someday just out of curiosity.
Marina Sofia
Interesting half-caste detective with the name Napoleon Bonaparte, this is the golden age of crime fiction set in Australia. Not exactly cosy, though; conveys perfectly the claustrophobia of a small agricultural community.
May 16, 2007 Laura marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful LO patron read these books at her library in Illinois in the 40s and was hoping to revisit. I am intrigued!
May 25, 2009 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this under the original name, Murder Must Wait, (I think)
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Aka Arthur Upfield

Arthur William Upfield (1 September 1890 – 13 February 1964) was an Australian writer, best known for his works of detective fiction featuring Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte ('Bony') of the Queensland Police Force, a half-caste Aborigine.

Born in England, Upfield moved to Australia in 1910 and fought with the Australian military during the First World War. Following his wa
More about Arthur W. Upfield...

Other Books in the Series

Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte (1 - 10 of 29 books)
  • The Barrakee Mystery
  • The Sands of Windee (Bony, #2)
  • Wings Above the Diamantina
  • Winds of Evil (A Scribner Crime Classics)
  • The Bone is Pointed (Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte, #6)
  • The Mystery of Swordfish Reef
  • No Footprints in the Bush
  • Death of a Swagman
  • The Devil's Steps
  • An Author Bites the Dust

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