Arthur Upfield

Arthur William Upfield (1 September 1890 - 13 February 1964) was an Australian writer, best known for his works of detective fiction featuring Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte ('Bony') of the Queensland Police Force.

Biography

Upfield was born in Gosport, Hampshire, England on 1 September 1890. cite web| author=Petri Liukkonen| year=2003 | url= http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/aupfiel.htm | title=Arthur Upfield (1890*-1964) | work=Books and Writers
publisher=www.kirjasto.sci.fi | accessdate=2006-01-14
(Although some authorities give his birth date as 1888, his birth certificate is reported to state 1890.) ] His father was a draper. In 1910, after doing poorly in examinations towards becoming a real estate agent, Upfield was sent to Australia by his father.cite web| author= | year=2002 | url=http://www.abc.net.au/rn/arts/bwriting/stories/s550978.htm | title=The Arthur Upfield Mystery - Bony (transcript of radio show 12 May 2002) | format= | work=Radio National, Books and Writing | publisher=Australian Broadcasting Corporation | accessdate=2006-01-16]

With the outbreak of World War I, he joined the First Australian Imperial Force on 23 August 1914.cite book | first = Terry | last = Walker | year = 1993| title = Murder on the Rabbit Proof Fence: The strange case of Arthur Upfield and Snowy Rowles| publisher = Hesperian Press | location = Carlisle, Western Australia | id = ISBN 0-85905-189-7 ] Upfield sailed from Brisbane on the HMAT Anglo Egyptian on 24 September 1914 to Melbourne. At the time of sailing he had the rank of Driver and was with the 1st Light horse Brigade Train (5 Company ASC [Army Service Corps] ). [cite web | url=http://www.awm.gov.au/database/awm8/name.asp?surname=upfield | title=First World War Unit Embarkation Rolls (search for Arthur Upfield) | work=Nominal rolls | publisher=Australian War Memorial | accessdate=2006-02-03 ] In Melbourne he was at a camp for several weeks before sailing to Egypt.cite news | first=Arthur | last=Upfield | title=One Digger's War | publisher=Melbourne Herald | date=19 April 1934 Copy of article with Upfield's World War 1 Military Records held by the National Archives of Australia.] He fought at Gallipoli and in France, and married an Australian nurse, Ann Douglass, in Egypt in 1915. He was discharged in England on 15 October 1919. [cite web | url=http://www.awm.gov.au/database/133/page.asp?Folder=53&Page=103&Surname=upfield| title=First World War Nominal Roll (File: 53-103 Start Name: Upchurch,Andrew End Name: Upritchard, William John)| format=PDF| work=Nominal rolls| publisher=Australian War Memorial| accessdate=2006-02-03 ] He worked as a private secretary to an army officer. In 1921 he returned to Australia with his wife and their son.cite web| author=Jonathan Vos Post| year=2004| url=http://www.magicdragon.com/UltimateMystery/perAu.html| title=Arthur Upfield| work=Periodic Table of Mystery Authors | publisher= Magic Dragon Multimedia | accessdate=2006-01-15]

For most of the next twenty years he travelled throughout the outback working at a number of jobs. He learnt much of Aboriginal culture, later to be used in his books.

Upfield created the character of Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte, based on a man known as 'Tracker Leon' whom he had met in his travels. Leon Wood was a half-caste Aborigine who was employed as a tracker by the Queensland Police. The novels featuring 'Bony', as the character was also known, were far more successful than other Upfield writings.

Late in life Upfield became a prominent member of the Australian Geological Society, involved in scientific expeditions. In particular he led a major expedition in 1948 to northern and western parts of Australia in 1948, including the Wolfe Creek crater. The Wolfe Creek crater was a setting for his novel "The Will of the Tribe" published in 1962. cite web | author=Kees de Hoog | year=2004 | url=http://www.collectingbooksandmagazines.com/upfield.html | title=Arthur W. Upfield, Creator of Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte (Bony) of the Queensland Police | work=Collecting Books and Magazines | publisher=www.collectingbooksandmagazines.com/ | accessdate=2006-02-09 ]

After living at Bermagui, New South Wales, Upfield moved to Jasmine Street, Bowral, New South Wales. Upfield died at Bowral on 13 February, 1964. His last work, "The Lake Frome Monster", published in 1966, was completed by J.L. Price and Dorothy Stange.

In 1957, his second wife, Jessica Hawke, published a biography of the author entitled "Follow My Dust!". It is generally held however, that this was written by Upfield himself.

Works

Upfield's novels were held in high regard by some fellow writers. In 1987, H.R.F. Keating included "The Sands of Windee" (1931) in his list of the 100 best crime and mystery books ever published. J.B. Priestley wrote of Upfield: "If you like detective stories that are something more than puzzles, that have solid characters and backgrounds, that avoid familiar patterns of crime and detection, then Mr Upfield is your man." Others have found Upfield's prose stilted. Much of the appeal of Arthur Upfield's stories lies in the depiction of outback Australian life in the 1930s through into the 1950s.

In "The Sands of Windee", a story about a "perfect murder", Upfield invented a method to destroy carefully all evidence of the crime. Upfield's "Windee method" was used in a true-life crime, The Murchison Murders, and Upfield was called to give evidence in court. [ [http://www.bookorphanage.com/upfield.html BOOKORPHANAGE BOOKS - Arthur Upfield ] ]

Upfield's novels were very popular in America (originally because so many American servicemen stationed in Australia during WW2 read them and brought copies backFact|date=January 2008), in England and were also translated into German.

Television series

From 1972 - 1973 a 26-episode television series was produced by Fauna Productions (also responsible for "Skippy the Bush Kangaroo"). After a long search for a half-white, half-Aborigine actor, the producers chose English actor Jon Finch for the role of Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte. When he suddenly became unavailable, Fauna's John McCallum flew to London in panic, and was lucky enough to audition New Zealand actor James Laurenson on his last day there. Offered the lead role, Laurenson hurriedly flew to Australia, reading "Bony" books all the way over.

The series was called "Boney", partly to make the pronunciation of the name more obvious, and partly because that had been Upfield's original intention - a publisher's misprint on the first novel had renamed the character.Fact|date=January 2008 Most of the episodes were based directly on one of the novels, but there were some adaptations. Two original scripts were not directly based on any novel; five novels were not adapted for television, effectively ‘reserving’ them in case a third series eventuated. At the time, many of the books were reprinted with the spelling altered to ‘Boney’ on the covers (although retaining the original in the text), and featuring a photo from the relevant episode. [ [http://www.classicaustraliantv.com/Boney.htm Boney ] ]

Table of books

References

External links

*imdb title|id=0159157|title=Boney, "television series 1972-3'
*cite web
author=Robert Wilfred Franson
year=2004
url=http://www.troynovant.com/Franson/Upfield/Inspector-Bonaparte-series.html
title=Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte series by Arthur W. Upfield
format=
work=
publisher=www.troynovant.com
accessdate=2006-01-14
accessyear=

*cite web
author=Don Storey
year=2005
url=http://www.classicaustraliantv.com/Boney.htm
title=Boney
format=
work=Classic Australian Television
publisher=
accessdate=2006-01-16
accessyear=

*cite web
author=
year=2004
url=http://www.lib.unimelb.edu.au/collections/special/upfield.htm
title=Arthur Upfield Collection
format=
work=
publisher=University of Melbourne Library: Special collections section
accessdate=2006-01-17
accessyear=

**cite web
author=Kay Craddock (Antiquarian bookseller)
year=
url=http://www.lib.unimelb.edu.au/collections/special/upfieldcatalogue.pdf
title=Catalogue (of Upfield's works with publication details of various editions)
format=pdf
work=
publisher=University of Melbourne Library: Special collections section
accessdate=2006-01-17
accessyear=

*cite web
author=
year=
url=http://heenan73.proboards29.com/index.cgi#upfield
title=Arthur W. Upfield Discussion Forum
format=
work=Famous Folk
publisher=www.proboards.com
accessdate=2006-02-05
accessyear=

*cite web
author=
year=
url=http://homepage.mac.com/klock/upfield/upfield.html
title=The Unofficial Arthur W. Upfield Homepage
format=
work=
publisher=m
accessdate=2006-09-27
accessyear=

*worldcat id|lccn-n50-46916
* [http://www.collectingbooksandmagazines.com/upfield.html Kees de Hoog (2004). "Arthur W. Upfield, Creator of Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte (Bony) of the Queensland Police"] Illustrated article on the Collecting Books and Magazines website


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