Book Review: The Bachelors of Broken Hill by Arthur W. Upfield

Have you seen this woman?

suspect sketch ©booksandbuttons

She is the suspect in the case of The Bachelors of Broken Hill.  We only know that she wears a gray hat, gray suit and appears to be looking over her spectacles when she looks at you.

This is a pleasant little mystery written in 1950 featuring detective-inspector Napoleon Bonaparte.  It takes place in Australia, and someone has been murdering well-off contented, retired bachelors in the little village of Broken Hill.


Napoleon Bonaparte (got trouble with that name?)–or “Bony” is called in on the case, with a limited time to solve it before the big higher-up detectives are called in from Sydney.

There is good character development and a teasing clue trail to keep the reader right at Bony’s side.  One of the devices used to flesh out the murderer is the use of an artist who tries to make sketches of the suspect according to eye witnesses at the crime scenes.  Mr. Upfield didn’t furnish us with those sketches, so I had to do the best I could myself.  (See above.)

It took me a while to figure out what a w.p.b. was, but now I’m into the lingo . . .(not telling).

The murders are by cyanide poisoning–and one is a stabbing–with a blue glass knife!
Kind of different indeed.

I really enjoyed this old mystery and I see that there were three other Bony mysteries which I hope to find someday: The Bone Is Pointed; Murder Down Under; and The Mystery of Swordfish Reef.

Oh, one more clue—the suspect, that woman, usually carried a navy blue handbag with red drawstrings.

suspect’s handbag; ©booksandbuttons

Should be easy to spot, hm?


You already know me---I'm in your book club. I've been in your book club in Wisconsin, in New York, in Missouri, in Connecticut. Now I'm in your book club in Pennsylvania. I love books! (I also collect buttons!) I'm looking forward to having conversations about books with people just like you----who also love books and want to talk about them. Send me an email: booksandbooks (at) me about a book you are reading. (or buttons of interest)
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