Bony (character)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Bony (fictional character))
Jump to: navigation, search
Napoleon "Bony" Bonaparte
First appearance The Barrakee Mystery
Created by Arthur Upfield
Portrayed by James Laurenson
Cameron Daddo
Gender Male
Occupation Police Officer, Tracker
Title Detective Inspector
Spouse(s) Marie
Children 3
Nationality Australian

Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte (Bony) is a fictional character created by Arthur Upfield.[1] A half-caste Aboriginal detective, Bony appeared in dozens of Upfield's novels from the late 1920s until the author's death in 1964.

Early life[edit]

Bony's mother was Aboriginal and his father was white, at a time when an interracial relationship between an Aboriginal and a white individual was forbidden. Bony was found in his dead mother's arms, where he was taken in by a Catholic Mission and given the name of Napoleon Bonaparte.

He has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Brisbane University.[2]


He is a member of the Queensland police force, although the novels are set throughout Australia.[3]

Bony often works undercover, usually as a station hand or labourer, with only a few senior police aware of his true identity. He frequently uses the alias Nat Bonnar, but other names such as Robert Burns[4] are used also. He often states that "my friends call me Bony".

He has an unblemished record of solving cases, and he is sometimes lent out by the Queensland Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to other jurisdictions that experience a murder unsolvable by the local authorities. He has an overall apathetic opinion of authority, frequently disregarding direct orders from his superiors. He mentions that he has been sacked several times, but due to his skill, is always reinstated almost immediately.

Bony is a tracker without peer, often seeing what other and lesser trackers have missed.

Personal life[edit]

Although his age is not specifically mentioned in the novels, Bony seems to be in his early fifties. He is married to Marie,[5] lives in Banyo in Brisbane,[6] and they have three adult sons; the oldest, Charles, is studying to be a doctor.

The Sands of Windee and The Murchison Murders[edit]

While working on the second Bony novel The Sands of Windee Arthur Upfield discussed many plot ideas with his outback companions, including Snowy Rowles who committed three murders using methods similar to those described in Upfield's novel. When Rowles was caught, Upfield was forced to testify at his trial. The ensuing publicity surrounding the murders greatly improved the sales of Upfield's novel, and the ensuing notoriety helped with kickstarting Upfield's rise to fame.

Television portrayals[edit]

Boney was an Australian television series made in 1972, featuring James Laurenson in the title role. The name was spelt 'Boney' for the series, and some editions of the novels kept this spelling for later editions.

Bony was also a 1990 telemovie and later a 1992 spin-off TV series (using the original 'Bony' spelling). However, the series was criticised for casting Bony as a white man (played by Cameron Daddo), under the tutelage of "Uncle Albert", an elderly Aborigine played by Burnum Burnum.

List of Bony novels[edit]

  • The Barrakee Mystery (1929)
  • The Sands of Windee (1931)
  • Wings Above The Diamantina (1936)
  • Mr. Jelly's Business (a.k.a. Murder Down Under) (1937)
  • Winds of Evil (1937)
  • The Bone is Bointed (1938)
  • The Mystery of Swordfish Reef (1939)
  • Bushranger of the Skies (a.k.a. No Footprints in the Bush) (1940)
  • Death of a Swagman (1947)
  • The Devil's Steps (1947)
  • An Author Bites the Dust (1948)
  • The Mountains Have a Secret (1948)
  • The Widows of Broome (1950)
  • The Bachelors of Broken Hill (1950)
  • The New Shoe (1952)
  • Venom House (1953)
  • Murder Must Wait (1953)
  • Death of a Lake (1954)
  • Sinister Stones (a.k.a. Cake in the Hat Box) (1955)
  • The Battling Prophet (1956)
  • The Man of Two Tribes (1956)
  • The Bushman Who Came Back (a.k.a. Bony Buys a Woman) (1957)
  • Bony and the Black Virgin (a.k.a. The Torn Branch) (1959)
  • Journey to the Hangman (a.k.a. Bony and the Mouse) (1959)
  • Valley of Smugglers (a.k.a. Bony and the Kelly Gang) (1960)
  • The White Savage (a.k.a. Bony and the White Savage) (1961)
  • The Will of the Tribe (1962)
  • Madman's Bend (a.k.a. The Body at Madman's Bend) (1963)
  • The Lake Frome Monster (1966)


  1. ^ Rosemary., Herbert, (2003-01-01). Whodunit? : a who's who in crime & mystery writing. Oxford University Press. p. 21. ISBN 0195157613. OCLC 252700230. 
  2. ^ Liukkonen, Petri. "Arthur Upfield". Books and Writers ( Finland: Kuusankoski Public Library. Archived from the original on 10 February 2015. 
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-07-25. Retrieved 2008-04-07.  Australian Natural History and Human Ecology Page, Just For fans of Arthur Upfield's "Bony" Mysteries
  4. ^ Death of a Swagman
  5. ^ The Cake in the Hat Box 1955
  6. ^ Murder Must Wait. Arthur Upfield 1953

External links[edit]