- Mass Market Paperback
- Publisher: Berkley Books; First Thus edition (1963)
- Language: English
- ASIN: B001RW98XA
- Package Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,873,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Bushman Who Came Back: A Napolean Bonaparte Mystery Mass Market Paperback – 1963
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Here, Australian Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte (who happens to be half-Aborigine and half-Caucasian) is sent to investigate a murder-kidnapping in the wilds of South Australia near Lake Eyre. A fiendish intruder has ruthlessly shot the lady cook at a large ranch just after the owner and ranch hands have gone out on their various jobs. A crazy old alcoholic hermit shows up at the scene and nabs the cook's young daughter from her playhouse and thus becomes the prime suspect.
A monumental search is begun for the child, making use of the local Aborigine trackers, all to no avail. When all hope has been lost, Bony (a nickname which the Inspector insists that all his friends use) is called in to resolve the matter. He soon rakes up a few clues, even though weeks have passed since the incident, and they lead him to suspect that the local Aborigine Chief and his Medicine Man know more than they are telling.
A sub-plot of an Aboriginal love affair adds much to the charm of this terrific tale.
Bony has become my favorite fictional detective, astonishingly displacing Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, and Miss Marple. I think that it's Upfield's focus on story development and his unique literary painting of the Australian landscape that has done it for me.
The Scribner's American paperback version is 188 pages in length and the book was first published under its Australian title in 1957 which makes it one of Upfield's later works. There are about 30 Bony mysteries, all of them first-class. This is a fine place to begin reading Upfield but I would more highly recommend starting at: Murder Down Under, also marketed under its original Australian title of Mr. Jelly's Business.
I can highly recommend this one to fans of Tey, Christie, Marsh, Doyle, Allingham and all the other classic British mystery writers.