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Murder Down Under: An Inspector Napoleon…

Murder Down Under: An Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte Mystery (original 1937; edition 1983)

by Arthur William Upfield

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179566,229 (3.88)8
Title:Murder Down Under: An Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte Mystery
Authors:Arthur William Upfield
Info:Charles Scribner's Sons (1983), Paperback, 298 pages
Collections:Your library

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Mr. Jelly's business by Arthur William Upfield (1937)



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Showing 4 of 4
Bony takes on the case of George Loftus' disappearance as a favour to a friend, and gets a job working on the Rabbit Proof Fence so he can keep the locals under observation and work out what has happened to Loftus. Mr Jelly is convinced that Loftus has been murdered by his wife and her lover, but he is surrounded by his own mystery. He gets telegrams that summon him to Perth for at least a week at a time. Given his personal hobby that involves keeping extensive files on murderers, Mr Jelly's daughters are convinced that his job must be something to be ashamed of. Bony promises Mr Jelly's daughters that he will find out what their father does during his absences.

This novel is filled with Upfield's own philosophy about what creates murderers. We also find out a lot about aboriginal tracking methods, as well as more information about Bony's family background. ( )
  smik | Sep 25, 2016 |
An early Bony novel set in a small town in the wheat fields of Western Australia along the Great Rabbit Fence. A protege of Bony's is baffled by a case, so Bony arranges to take it over, and gets a job on the Rabbit Fence.
A local farmer, George Loftus, allegedly got drunk and ran his car into a ditch near the Rabbit Fence and vanished. Bony investigates several colorful local characters, one of whom, Mr. Jelly, is obsessed with Australian murderers and their executions. (This story has also been published as Mr. Jelly's Business. I recall the family collection used to have a copy under that title.) There is a brief new introduction in this edition by Edward Marston, author of a good series of mysteries set in the Elizabethan theater of Shakespeare's time. ( )
  antiquary | Sep 13, 2016 |
Excellent mystery. Engaging detective. A little slow toward the end, but as DI Napoleon Bonaparte says, patience is a virtue. Also some anachronistic racism, but one must consider the time at which the book was written. ( )
  DollyBantry | Nov 9, 2008 |
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. Loftus leaves a pub and is never seen nor heard from again. His car is found stranded in a ditch but he's nowhere to be found. Enter Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte, who is technically not on duty at the time. Taking the guise as a worker on the Rabbit Fence, Bony snoops around unobtrusively to get to the heart of the mystery.

A very fun and very good book. ( )
  bcquinnsmom | May 12, 2006 |
Showing 4 of 4
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MR. JELLY'S BUSINESS has also been published as MURDER DOWN UNDER.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0684178877, Mass Market Paperback)

For readers who thought they'd exhausted the list of Golden Age mystery writers, Australian author Arthur Upfield (1888-1964) is often a pleasant surprise. The tales of Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte (or Bony, as he is known) offer all of the major pleasures of Christie, Tey, and Doyle; but Upfield's works also carry the freshness of his island continent setting and of his "half-caste" hero. Bony, born of an aborigine mother and a white father, is a genius of criminal science and also a classic gentleman. Suave and always impeccably dressed (except, of course, when in disguise), he solves mysteries through patience. As he often repeats to John Muir--one of the many young men he tutors: "Never race Time. Make Time an ally, for Time is the greatest detective that ever was or ever will be." Through Bony, Upfield's progressive series frequently explores the foundations of Australian race prejudices and defies them with Bonaparte's genial wit and disarming smile.

In Murder Down Under the detective is on holiday in western Australia but inevitably winds up with a working vacation, this time assisting young Sergeant Muir. Farmer George Loftus has disappeared, and his car was found smashed along the world's longest fence in the wheat town of Burracoppin. The days before Loftus's disappearance are filled with clues that point to Leonard Wallace, owner of the Burracoppin Hotel. Loftus had given Wallace a ride from Perth back to the hotel, and the pair had shared drinks in the bar before driving off together at 1 a.m.--shortly before the disappearance. Wallace claims that the two had argued and that he had left the car well before the accident. Now, Bony must parse truth and fiction in his inimitable style. Along the way, however, he meets the bizarre Mr. Jelly, an amateur criminologist who collects portraits of murders and who may have some insights into the case. Murder Down Under is a true classic: a rich world of quirky characters and fascinating scenery built around a complex and satisfying puzzle. Other adventures of Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte: The Bone Is Pointed, The Bachelors of Broken Hill, and The Mystery of Swordfish Reef. --Patrick O'Kelley

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:50 -0400)

The car lies wrecked and abandoned near the world's longest fence, the 'rabbit fence', in the wheat belt of Western Australia. Of its owner there is no sign. Has George Loftus simply decamped, for reasons of his own? Or is it a case of murder? Detective-Inspector Bonaparte suspects the worst, and is determined to find the body -and the murderer.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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