Bony (character)

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Gender Male
Occupation Detective

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

Early life[edit]

His white father is unknown and his Aboriginal mother was murdered while he was still an infant.[1] 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.

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.

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.


  1. ^ The Will of the Tribe
  2. ^ Liukkonen, Petri. "Arthur Upfield". Books and Writers ( Finland: Kuusankoski Public Library. Archived from the original on 10 February 2015. 
  3. ^ 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]