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Death of a Swagman (Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte #9)

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  229 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
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.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 1st 1982 by Collier Books (first published 1945)
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Jun 21, 2011 Marianne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Death of a Swagman is the 9th of Arthur Upfield’s Inspector Bonaparte Mysteries. A swagman is found dead in a pool of blood in a hut near the Riverina town of Merino. Bony only sees a photo of the hut but is convinced the man did not die there, and is intrigued enough to take the case. He arrives in town incognito, gets himself arrested and, as well as painting the Police Station fence a sickly yellow, he investigates as only Bony can. During the course of the investigation, he befriends the Pol ...more
May 01, 2016 Joy rated it really liked it
Bony, arriving in an outback town under cover, is immediately arrested as a vagrant. Working out his sentence, he acquaints himself with the personalities and footprints of the inhabitants. One of them is killing and dumping bodies at an old laborers' hut. Bony's patient investigation suddenly takes on urgency, and one of the colorful, highly individual inhabitants has killed his last victim.
Feb 12, 2012 Sally rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
I love all the Upfield "Bony" mysteries. Although I read most of these in paperback about 18 years ago, I don't recall reading this one. It is the 9th in the published series. While all of the elements I enjoy about this series are there, this one had two things about it that I didn't like as much. One is that the murderer turned out not to be who I hoped and expected it would be, and the other is that the reason why the person committed the murders is a little quirky. Still, I enjoyed the audio ...more
Ann Tonks
Apr 06, 2016 Ann Tonks rated it it was ok
Shelves: australia
I just couldn't finish it. I was genuinely curious to discover the indigenous detective Inspetor Bonaparte but the character was impossible to relate to and the "white" tone from 1945 was irritating. So I'll never know who killed the swagman.
Sandy Shin
Jun 22, 2013 Sandy Shin rated it it was amazing
I have always been a mystery reader, but this book introduced me to another facet of good writing, letting readers have a view of different cultures. The criminal investigation is a side plot, the main attraction is the country and people.

This book also was one of a series on the same character, inspiring me to read the ones earlier in the series and discovering and reading the subsequent books as they came available. All are good reads.

Bony is a half-breed in race-conscious Australia and his in
Aug 26, 2014 Lucy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Mr. James relaxed. Bony lit another cigarette. What he had remembered was the rebuke he had received when he had thought to smoke on the parsonage veranda. With seeming inadvertence, the smoke of this cigarette travelled to and about Mr. James's head" (170-1).
Mary Newcomb
Bony arrives in Merino, NSW, Australia (sheep country, in case you needed a hint) and is jailed almost immediately. While most detectives would find it difficult to investigate a cold case form behind bars, Bony is no ordinary Detective-Inspector and a jail in the bush is a little bit different as well. This series is most intriguing for its look into a different place and era. Also, the investigating is first rate.
These stories are dated and at times even a bit corny but I'm a fan anyway. Bony is an entertaining, one of a kind detective. That said, like all of Upfield's books, this title is really all about the Australian bush and not about detection.
Melanie McKissock
Nov 13, 2015 Melanie McKissock rated it liked it
An unusual tale, set in an intriguing time and place. The detective is a likeable character, but the motive for the crimes in just odd.
May 02, 2009 Kaylynn rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I liked the setting and the detective, but the mystery was only so-so.
May 02, 2010 Leslie rated it it was ok
windmill love?! bizarro.
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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
  • Murder Down Under
  • 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
  • The Devil's Steps
  • An Author Bites the Dust

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