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Winds of Evil

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Detective-Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte sets out to investigate two bizarre murders in the Australian outback, but all the clues to the year-old murder have been confused by a bumbling policeman. Soon, however, the murderer emerges to stop Bony from finding out the truth.


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Detective-Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte sets out to investigate two bizarre murders in the Australian outback, but all the clues to the year-old murder have been confused by a bumbling policeman. Soon, however, the murderer emerges to stop Bony from finding out the truth.

30 review for Winds of Evil

  1. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

    Gleeful anticipation describes the approach of Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte to an interesting case, and it also describes how any reader familiar with Arthur Upfield’s Bony series begins one of those novels. Winds of Evil is the fifth novel of the series. Bony arrives at the outback NSW town of Carie to investigate the strangling murders of an aboriginal girl and a white man, as well as the attempted strangling of a white woman. Under the guise of a farm labourer, Bony discovers that a Gleeful anticipation describes the approach of Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte to an interesting case, and it also describes how any reader familiar with Arthur Upfield’s Bony series begins one of those novels. Winds of Evil is the fifth novel of the series. Bony arrives at the outback NSW town of Carie to investigate the strangling murders of an aboriginal girl and a white man, as well as the attempted strangling of a white woman. Under the guise of a farm labourer, Bony discovers that all the events occurred during fierce sandstorms. After himself having a narrow escape from the hands of the strangler, he eventually refines his suspect to eleven men. With an interesting cast of characters, Upfield’s usual eloquent descriptions of the surrounds, plenty of twists and turns, and the odd red herring, Winds of Evil is another Upfield masterpiece.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    An Australian colleague introduced me to the murder mysteries of Arthur Upfield, and his protagonist Napoleon “Bony” Bonaparte. (In return, I got him Florida writers Marjorie Kinnon Rawlings and Tim Dorsey. But I digress.) I've since acquired almost the entire series, and am reading them at a comfortable pace. Upfield presents an issue for the modern reader. Bony is a “half-caste”, with both white (English descendant) and Aboriginal parentage. On one hand, Upfield is a product of his time, implyi An Australian colleague introduced me to the murder mysteries of Arthur Upfield, and his protagonist Napoleon “Bony” Bonaparte. (In return, I got him Florida writers Marjorie Kinnon Rawlings and Tim Dorsey. But I digress.) I've since acquired almost the entire series, and am reading them at a comfortable pace. Upfield presents an issue for the modern reader. Bony is a “half-caste”, with both white (English descendant) and Aboriginal parentage. On one hand, Upfield is a product of his time, implying and sometimes outright stating that the native Australians are inferior to the whites who came upon the continent relatively recently. On the other, Upfield is progressive for his time, showing Bony to be an incredibly logical and clever individual, able to solve crimes that his contemporaries are unable to resolve. “Winds of Evil” follows the typical pattern of the Upfield / Bony mysteries. A case has gone cold. Bony is called in to investigate. (“I am not a policeman. I am a detective.”) He arrives using a cover identity to allow him to question the locals without suspicion – and the locals are quite the collection of characters, to be sure. His superiors become concerned about the amount of time he is spending in the location; they have another case that they'd like him to deal with. His wife is frustrated with the amount of time he's already spent away from home. But despite the formula … they're typically quite enjoyable, thanks in no large part to the variations in detail and to the locations that Upfield sends his detective to. (Still, this is why I only read 1 or so per year – and with Mr. Upfield being long gone, it's not like he's going to get ahead of me by writing more ...) RATING: 4 stars

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Oakes

    #5 in the series featuring Napoleon Bonaparte (Bony, as he prefers to be called), the (and I quote the book here) "half-caste" detective who does not like to think of himself as a policeman. These books are set in Australia; Bony had a white father and aboriginal mother, now has children of his own & loves his job: detecting & crime solving. In this installment, he has a rather perplexing mission: he must not only solve a crime that is a year old, but he must prevent another one from happening. #5 in the series featuring Napoleon Bonaparte (Bony, as he prefers to be called), the (and I quote the book here) "half-caste" detective who does not like to think of himself as a policeman. These books are set in Australia; Bony had a white father and aboriginal mother, now has children of his own & loves his job: detecting & crime solving. In this installment, he has a rather perplexing mission: he must not only solve a crime that is a year old, but he must prevent another one from happening. It seems that every time the windstorms kick up down at the Wirragatta Station (in the outback), someone gets strangled to death. Bony is sent for and as he arrives, there is an attempted murder done in the same fashion. The policeman in charge is incompetent, so Bony must find the killer before he can strike again. This one was quite good; there were a large number of suspects from which to choose and it was fun trying to whittle them down. However, I will say, that one part of the mystery was very transparent and I figured it out. But that shouldn't stop anyone (and it didn't me) from enjoying the rest of the story. I love these mysteries and plan to collect the entire set. If you've read these mysteries before, then you'll enjoy this one; if you want something new in a mystery series, then try this one. One caveat: you may feel that the language in these books is racist and disdain the book for that reason, but I ask you to consider the time in which this was written as well as attitudes belonging to that time period before you rush off to condemn this author. These are fun, and I do enjoy Bony's character very much.

  4. 4 out of 5

    David Lutkins

    I would really rather give this book a 4.5. The author paints an intensely interesting and (I think) accurate picture of day to day Australian life in the early 20th century. The set up to the mystery is very well done, a real page turner. Where the novel loses its half point with me is in the denouement, which falls flat and is disappointing, IMO. Five stars for the first 90%, two stars for the last 10%.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Koen

    A perfect thriller right up to the end, and then ... the letdown: the denouement that beggars belief. (Spoiler alert:) Wikipedia has an article "homicidal sleepwalking" - mentions a handful of cases, but these are all one-offs, unlike in the book (two murders, two attempts) - so I remain unconvinced. A perfect thriller right up to the end, and then ... the letdown: the denouement that beggars belief. (Spoiler alert:) Wikipedia has an article "homicidal sleepwalking" - mentions a handful of cases, but these are all one-offs, unlike in the book (two murders, two attempts) - so I remain unconvinced.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Karen GoatKeeper

    The wind is hot and picks up the sand blowing it into an immense cloud. The grains rub together creating static electricity. And in Wirragatta Station, murder is committed. Two people are dead. Another barely survived. Napoleon Bonaparte arrives as a swagman, one who travels from place to place working on one station or another. He faces a tough case. The wind sweeps all traces of the crimes away. All he has to go on is a list of the people living in the area. And the attempt on his life during a The wind is hot and picks up the sand blowing it into an immense cloud. The grains rub together creating static electricity. And in Wirragatta Station, murder is committed. Two people are dead. Another barely survived. Napoleon Bonaparte arrives as a swagman, one who travels from place to place working on one station or another. He faces a tough case. The wind sweeps all traces of the crimes away. All he has to go on is a list of the people living in the area. And the attempt on his life during another sandstorm. Again the setting takes center stage in this book. The area has trees, grasslands. It is being swallowed up by sand. The sandstorms remind me of the Dust Bowl pictures. The book is a fast, easy read. It is a typical cozy mystery as are all in this series. The setting is what makes this one and the others in the series special.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)

    Goodish puzzle in the telling, let down by the denouement. Unfortunately Upfield is already recycling motifs from the first in the series, and the ending had me rolling my eyes. We are also treated to some 1930s crime tropes, such as being told that "in America" they already had the ability to lift fingerprints from clothing--which, at that time, they did not. It didn't even begin to be possible until 2011. But it sounds good, to a certain type of author and possibly his readership. Boney is les Goodish puzzle in the telling, let down by the denouement. Unfortunately Upfield is already recycling motifs from the first in the series, and the ending had me rolling my eyes. We are also treated to some 1930s crime tropes, such as being told that "in America" they already had the ability to lift fingerprints from clothing--which, at that time, they did not. It didn't even begin to be possible until 2011. But it sounds good, to a certain type of author and possibly his readership. Boney is less of a Gary Stu in this volume, though we're back to his super vision and super hearing and superstitions warring with his white father's reason. Only once does a person "become seated" in this volume; that at least is something.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Napoleon "Bony" Bonaparte, a detective from Queensland is sent to the Outback of northwestern New South Wales at Carie to determine why a murderer is most active at night during the wind storms. As a half breed in origins, schooled and successful and a renowned detective, this case is a particularly difficult one to solve. He takes the identity of Joe Fisher to work on a farm owned by a wealthy lady. Lots of secrets prod him to set up tricky events. Another great story! I thoroughly enjoy these Napoleon "Bony" Bonaparte, a detective from Queensland is sent to the Outback of northwestern New South Wales at Carie to determine why a murderer is most active at night during the wind storms. As a half breed in origins, schooled and successful and a renowned detective, this case is a particularly difficult one to solve. He takes the identity of Joe Fisher to work on a farm owned by a wealthy lady. Lots of secrets prod him to set up tricky events. Another great story! I thoroughly enjoy these mysteries with detective Bony.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Darlene Messenger

    Wow. What a mystery! An oldie but a good one! Set in Australia, winds sweep the country bringing dust storms and a murder most foul. Within a small community where everyone know everything, someone must be hiding. The winds being Napoleon Bonaparte, Boney to his friends; undercover to find this fiend. Right to the last moment, I had no idea who the culprit was. Love that in a mystery. For sure I will be seeking more in this series.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Andy Kabanoff

    Like all Upfield's 'Boney' novels this paints a fabulous picture of outback Australia and has a view of indigenous Australians which is decades ahead of its time. In this plot the half-caste detective Napoleon Bonaparte is tracking down a person who strangles people during violent dust storms. Improbable as that sounds it is a great plot. Superb suspense scenes! Like all Upfield's 'Boney' novels this paints a fabulous picture of outback Australia and has a view of indigenous Australians which is decades ahead of its time. In this plot the half-caste detective Napoleon Bonaparte is tracking down a person who strangles people during violent dust storms. Improbable as that sounds it is a great plot. Superb suspense scenes!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Pat Kennedy

    I love these Napoleon Bonaparte mysteries. This is one of the best I have read so far. All of these books are set pre-WWII in outback Australia. They are not PC - Upfield uses gender and ethnic language as it would have been used at that time. But the hero is a half caste detective and is a brilliant detective who moves between white and aboriginal cultures.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    A book I will not soon forgot, with a half-caste detective solving a series of crimes in outback New South Wales, Australia. The psychology behind the crimes is suspect but I love the details, the pacing, everything else about this book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Robyn Cain

    More like 3.5 stars. Very interesting mystery and I didn’t see the ending coming at all, but it was a bit tragic, otherwise I would have rated it higher.

  14. 4 out of 5

    John

    A mysterious murderer who seemingly moves through the trees and drops on his victims has Bony questioning his ability to solve the mystery. Another great story.

  15. 5 out of 5

    John Sheahan

    A little sluggish this one. Still most enjoyable as I am happy to embrace the patience extolled by Bony.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Excellent.

  17. 5 out of 5

    William Streck

    An excellent read and an excellent book! I enjoyed every minute of it! It reminded me a great deal of the Tony Hillerman novels, which I enjoyed very much.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    As always, an intriguing and clever Napoleon Bonaparte mystery. This one was a little poignant. And it was nice to come across some characters from the previous book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    First I had read of this classic-era mystery. Originally written in the 1930s, the mystery has the unique setting of the Australian outback and a detective who had an Aborigine mother. Bony, the detective, is in the church of the great detective, very self assured of his abilities and unique observational skills, but an entirely different pew, since his talents lie in his Aboriginal roots and his ability to track and read the signs of nature, besides intuit human behavior. The attitude of others First I had read of this classic-era mystery. Originally written in the 1930s, the mystery has the unique setting of the Australian outback and a detective who had an Aborigine mother. Bony, the detective, is in the church of the great detective, very self assured of his abilities and unique observational skills, but an entirely different pew, since his talents lie in his Aboriginal roots and his ability to track and read the signs of nature, besides intuit human behavior. The attitude of others towards Bony is amazingly egalitarian, considering I know there were (are) prejudices towards aboriginals. There are a few places where dated stereotypes intrude. But a refreshing step back in time to a location not overused in mysteries.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sally

    I am a fan of Arthur Upfield's "Bony" books. I thought I had read all of them back in the 1990s, but I didn't remember this one at all. In this mystery, the setting is in New South Wales where periodic sandstorms blow through, and in this case, a sandstorm has hidden evidence of who committed a couple of murders and a near-murder. The clever inspector once again uses his skills to see clues others have not seen and to observe people and figure out why they might do what they do. This is a good m I am a fan of Arthur Upfield's "Bony" books. I thought I had read all of them back in the 1990s, but I didn't remember this one at all. In this mystery, the setting is in New South Wales where periodic sandstorms blow through, and in this case, a sandstorm has hidden evidence of who committed a couple of murders and a near-murder. The clever inspector once again uses his skills to see clues others have not seen and to observe people and figure out why they might do what they do. This is a good mystery, but the big appeal is another taste of Australian life of the mid-1900s.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Judy Frye

    Upfield has created a delightfully eccentric character in Detective Boney Bonaparte. Half cast Boney has intimate knowledge of "the bush" and "the Outback" where nature reigns supreme. He uses nature and his cunning mind to solve crimes. I can't wait to read another Boney mystery even though I spend hours searching the web for images of the blue tongued lizard, Kookaburra, galah, boab trees and mythical bunyip. I appreciate that Upfield doesn't describe these Australian natives in great detail b Upfield has created a delightfully eccentric character in Detective Boney Bonaparte. Half cast Boney has intimate knowledge of "the bush" and "the Outback" where nature reigns supreme. He uses nature and his cunning mind to solve crimes. I can't wait to read another Boney mystery even though I spend hours searching the web for images of the blue tongued lizard, Kookaburra, galah, boab trees and mythical bunyip. I appreciate that Upfield doesn't describe these Australian natives in great detail but rather allows my natural curiosity to go on a treasure hunt for information.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mary Center

    Excellent mystery! Mister Upfield has to be one of the most descriptive authors I have ever read, and I've read a lot. His descriptions of Australia of long ago make you feel like you are there. You feel as though you are with the detective helping solve the crime. I highly recommend this book to any cozy mystery lover. Excellent mystery! Mister Upfield has to be one of the most descriptive authors I have ever read, and I've read a lot. His descriptions of Australia of long ago make you feel like you are there. You feel as though you are with the detective helping solve the crime. I highly recommend this book to any cozy mystery lover.

  23. 4 out of 5

    George

    Mystery set in the outback of Australia and one of a series featuring "half-caste" Detective-Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte who is sent to this isolated area to solve a series of murders. Interesting story line as "Bony" works on solving the case. A number of interesting characters and relationships. Mystery set in the outback of Australia and one of a series featuring "half-caste" Detective-Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte who is sent to this isolated area to solve a series of murders. Interesting story line as "Bony" works on solving the case. A number of interesting characters and relationships.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Gerald McFarland

    Detective-Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte, a mixed-race Australian, has gone undercover to identify a serial killer. His methods are not unlike the classic Sherlock Holmes approach, although his Native background infuses his inquiries with an intuitive side to go with his Holmes-like close scrutiny of detail. Upfield has a droll style. He gives the plot a clever twist in the final chapter.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sue Law

    Just re-read this and upped the star rating to 4. Not only will I buy other Arthur Upfield books, there's a good chance I'll re-read this one. Bony goes undercover again, this time looking for a possible serial killer in a small town. It should be easy, but the killer only strikes during prolonged dust storms which wipe out all traces of his presence. Or nearly all... Just re-read this and upped the star rating to 4. Not only will I buy other Arthur Upfield books, there's a good chance I'll re-read this one. Bony goes undercover again, this time looking for a possible serial killer in a small town. It should be easy, but the killer only strikes during prolonged dust storms which wipe out all traces of his presence. Or nearly all...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    Lovely to read an old Bony book again but attitudes to women and coloured people really stand out. These books are true to the era and even Bony feels negative about half castes of which he is one! I found it difficult to read of these attitudes but I was warned at the beginning of the book that this might be the case. Enjoyed the book around these difficult issues .

  27. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    I first read this book back in high school, and parts of it gave me the chills because I found it eerie. I recently re-read, and I still found it eerie. Wouldn't want to be out on a dark road at night in that town! Also, I like the main character and how observant he is. I first read this book back in high school, and parts of it gave me the chills because I found it eerie. I recently re-read, and I still found it eerie. Wouldn't want to be out on a dark road at night in that town! Also, I like the main character and how observant he is.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mary Newcomb

    Bony pieces together disparate facts into an intriguing resolution of several surprising events. While some of the underlying assumptions are questionable, I find the look into the Australian bush to be informative.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    Although the plot is a bit far fetched, it was good to be back in the Australian bush with Bony with a great description of the setting and the weather.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Fred

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