Thursday, April 28, 2011

An Author Bites the Dust: Review

I am so glad that I discovered Arthur W. Upfield. His An Author Bites the Dust is an absolutely delightful mystery and I think I'm in love with Inspector "Bony" Bonaparte. He can train his deep blue eyes on me and ask those penetrating questions all he wants to. Oh, darn. He's married and so am I. :-)

Upfield writes intelligent prose that gives the reader exactly what she needs and nothing more. The descriptions of both people and place are apt and brilliantly done without being too wordy. He has gotten the characterizations of "snooty" literary folk down to a "T." The dialogue is sharp and witty and there are no wasted words. I've definitely found myself a new current favorite. And am particularly interested to try more work by an Austalian author. I tend to focus primarily on British writers.

In this mystery a literary clique is gathered for a house party at the home of Mervyn Blake. Blake is a famous author and critic who is used to character assassination and back-stabbing--as are his guests. But the house party is shocked when Blake is found dead in his writing room and the cause of death is not immediately apparent. The local inspector decides that it must be natural causes, but his superior is not satisfied and brings in Detective Inspector Napoleon "Bony" Bonaparte to see if he can find fresh evidence. Bony finds himself in a world that is a far cry from the bush characters that he is used to and must find clues among the literary hates and jealousies. And the clues are few and far between...a cat and his favorite ping pong ball, an alcoholic gardner, and a mysterious return visit by one of the guests when he believes himself unobserved. But it is Bony's shrewd knowledge of human nature that ultimately wins the day.

If this is how Bony manages an investigation when he's out of his element I can't wait to see what he's like at home. Four and a half stars out of five!

1 comment:

Jennifer M. said...

Very Interesting...I love good mysteries and am always interesting in hearing about great mystery author's. I'll definitely look into this author's books now. :-) Great Review!