book cover of The Widows of Broome
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The Widows of Broome

(A book in the Inspector Bonaparte series)
A novel by

The Widows of Broome is the 13th book in the Napoleon Bonaparte series by Australian author, Arthur Upfield. Post-war Broome is a drowsy little town of comfortable bungalows and windowless shops, cut off from civilization by hundreds of miles of virgin land. It is some weeks after two young, attractive, well-off widows have been murdered in this town, and Perth CIB have failed to find a murderer, that Bony makes an appearance, posing as a psychiatrist, Mr Knapp. With no motive for the murders apparent, Bony re-examines crime scenes, compares the victims for similarities and differences, compiles a list of possible suspects and reviews potential victims: the Widows of Broome. Before the investigation advances very far, the killer takes another victim, but as all the evidence is of a substantiating rather than conclusive nature, Bony needs to set a trap. This is, once again, a brilliant detective novel that showcases Bony's observational and deductive powers. This installment includes silk underwear, stolen nightgowns, blackmail, poisoning, skin conditions, alarm bells, a camera flash, some inventive metalwork, rockets, petrol sniffing and plenty of drinking. Bony enlists the services of the town's culturally superior but monetarily derelict drunk, goes to a school fete, makes quite a few alleged cigarettes, goes fishing and spends several nights in a woman's bedroom. Upfield has his characters commenting on the interference of politics in matters of justice. He uses boxing, fishing and theater metaphors as well as throwing in the odd red herring. Published in 1950, this novel is also a marvelous little time capsule revealing attitudes and opinions of the day. Superb, as always.

Genre: Mystery

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