Read Mr. Jelly's Business by Arthur W. Upfield Online


Detective-Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte agrees to help a colleague in the matter of the disappearance of farmer George Loftus. Loftus’ car was found abandoned near the world’s longest fence, in the wheat country of Western Australia. Bony immediately suspects murder but can’t find the evidence to confirm it.Loftus’ wife seems concerned about him, but his handsome hired manDetective-Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte agrees to help a colleague in the matter of the disappearance of farmer George Loftus. Loftus’ car was found abandoned near the world’s longest fence, in the wheat country of Western Australia. Bony immediately suspects murder but can’t find the evidence to confirm it.Loftus’ wife seems concerned about him, but his handsome hired man is an enigma.It is not until Bony becomes absorbed in the second mystery of Mr Jelly, an amateur criminologist who himself often disappears on secret business, that he finds the key to the strange goings-on in this seemingly ordinary farming community....

Title : Mr. Jelly's Business
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781743156568
Format Type : Audio CD
Number of Pages : 262 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Mr. Jelly's Business Reviews

  • Kirsty Darbyshire
    2019-01-29 07:28

    This is the first Upfield mystery I've read and I found it surprisingly readable. The story takes place in 1931 and I always expect to have to climb over language hurdles before I get into the swing of old books. This book was an easy read from the beginning and I enjoyed the simple style of the writing.It wasn't explained how Inspector Napolean Bonaparte came by his moniker but I was pleased to find that he prefers to go by "Bony". I get the impression that writing a series featuring a half caste well educated Australian detective was a daring thing for Upfield to do at the time. This book is set in a small Western Australian wheat growing town and I liked the reactions of the exclusively white residents to Bony. I got a bit fed up of hearing that Bony was so good at his job because he'd inherited characteristics from his aborginal mother to add to those inherited from his white father and how this blend made him superior to everyone. I guess the author was making a point and was perhaps brave to do so but I got a bit tired of the repetition.The main mystery in this book happens when Bony is on holiday and he decides to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a farmer. This case absorbs him so much that he stays on after his leave is over and risks losing his job over it. From other opinions I've heard I gather getting fired and reinstated is a staple of the Bony books but he seemed to take this a bit easily. Mainly my problem was that the case of the missing farmer just isn't that intriguing. There are other things going on that are intriguing and Bony has an interesting and entertaining way of investigating but the basic premise of the book didn't work for me.I liked the setting and the characters and I'd like to read more about Bony but I was disappointed by the plot and its resolution in this book. Finally, the alternative title Mr Jelly's Business is much better than the one it's published under!

  • Jan C
    2019-02-19 07:23

    I picked this up years ago at a used book sale and just had real trouble getting around to reading it. However, once I did, I had trouble putting it down. I took me about 5 days, just reading it on the commute. I kept missing my stop, too.I believe I will be looking for the others in this series.Napoleon "Bony" Bonaparte is half-caste (half aboriginal and half white) and an Inspector for the Queensland police. He's on vacation when his young acquaintance, John Muir, asks for his help regarding a murder case in Western Australia. Bony is an expert tracker. He mostly works undercover. So he goes undercover for the Rabbit Fence people. They know who and what he is but no one else is supposed to.This book has also been published under the name "Mr. Jelly's Business". That was part of the mystery - what was his business? It was a very quick read. I want to read more in this series. Hope some of them are still in print. But I'll be looking for Arthur W Upfield in used book stores, possibly even the library. A few terms were confusing to me, not having ever been to Australia, but not too many.

  • Alonzo Church
    2019-02-20 07:09

    This is a novel with a lousy US release title (Murder Down Under) and some incidental detecting. Mostly, it is a lovely evocation of a time (the 30s) and place (rural Western Australia) unfamiliar to us yanks. The strengths are a fascinating detective (think a mixed race Hercule Poirot), a fluid writing style, and a beautifully rendered setting. The weakness some may perceive is that Upfield has a 30s white guy understanding of racial questions, and some dubious racial ideas crop up in the narration, even though the author's heart is clearly in the right place. The other weakness are the "mysteries" themselves, which are vaguely disappointing, even though the solution of the secondary mystery is postponed, rather brilliantly, to the last line of the book.The story is told in a fairly leisurely fashion until the final confrontation between villain and detective, which is very suspenseful. Definitely worth a read, and I am going to hunt down other books by this author, who was unknown to me.

  • John
    2019-01-22 03:15

    This is a marvelously atmospheric tale of life in rural Australia is the 1930's. There are two separate but intertwined mysteries for Bony to solve in his inimitable style.Farmer George Loftus has gone missing. Is he dead or has he done a bunk? Another farmer, Mr Jelly, periodically disappears also but always comes back a few days later refusing to tell anyone where he has been.Despite his daft name Napoleon Bonaparte, is a great character and greatly underrated in my opinion. The way Upfield describes the minutiae of Bony' s detecting process is brilliant.Highly recommended.

  • John
    2019-02-01 06:01

    Burracoppin's a town near the rabbit-proof fence in Western Australia, a town that holds secrets. Bony does a swap with his pal John Muir for the chance of a mystery to suit his talents while on holiday. Mr Jelly disappears and reappears mysteriously during the hours of darkness. What's he up to? Resourceful Bony seems to have met his match, will he be able to solve this, perhaps his greatest case?

  • Kathryn
    2019-01-27 00:06

    I always enjoy listening to these mysteries. I’m not sure whether this one was a bit harder to follow than usual, or whether I was just doing more tasks that involved a bit more brain input than usual when listening to it, but I found this one a bit more difficult to follow than some of the others.It is interesting that this fourth book in the series has had two titles and both seem strange choices. Mr Jelly’s Business is what the audiobook I listened to was called, and there was a mystery about Mr Jelly, however that was not what occupied the majority of Det Insp Napoleon “Bony” Bonaparte’s time. The other title is Murder Down Under but as all the Bony mysteries are set “down under” (at least all that I’ve read so far) that also seems a strange choice.Bony reproaches himself occasionally in this book for having made a mistake at Windee (book 2), but unfortunately I can’t remember that book well enough to remember what his mistake was!I thought it was interesting in this book to read how Bony set a “trail” for some dogs that consisted of something soaked in a mixture of aniseed (I think it was) and something else, and the dogs, plus the rest of the town’s animals, followed that trail for miles - not even leaving when the soaked object was locked up in a shed overnight!

  • Stefani Akins
    2019-02-20 05:17

    What brought Arthur Upfield to my attention, I can't even remember, but having just finished Murder Down Under, I'm glad that whatever it was did. Arthur W. Upfied was born in Great Britain but moved to Australia at the age of 20 where luckily, his curiosity about his new home heavily influenced the series of crime fiction books he was about to write. Murder Down Under was first released in 1937, giving the reader thus a fascinating look into life in rural Western Australia during the Great Depression, including undercurrents of the racial misconceptions which still reverberate today. Upfield's Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte (or Bony to his friends) is a well-educated, highly respected policeman of mixed ethnicity upon which he draws in his pursuit of criminals. This particular case presents him with the conundrum of having to prove a murder when no body has been found. The story is enticing, once you get past the style of expression which is at once extremely precise and quaintly involved. I highly recommend this novel to lovers of crime fiction or anyone who is interested in a view back through history.

  • Lucy
    2019-01-22 04:08

    "Into this hall from the town and the outlying farms had come good-looking women and strong, well-set-up men, an A-1 standard of physique rarely seen in the older countries and the Australian cities. From the farm districts and from the vast bushlands beyond had emerged in 1914 that Australian army whose physical perfection had aroused the admiration of Europe....At the door people separated as though governed by established convention, women occupying the long forms set against one wall and the men taking their seats against the opposite wall. Near the door stood the contingent of unattached males. Often Bony had observed this division of the sexes in the smaller towns of the Commonwealth, coming to regard it as a facet of the white man's psychology for which there was no adequate explanation. To him, an observer on the fringe, this sex segregation, far more marked than in the cities, was an unsolvable puzzle" (88-89).

  • Nancy H
    2019-02-14 00:05

    I had forgotten how much I enjoyed Arthur Upfield's books and especially his Australian detective, Napoleon Bonaparte, known in his stories as Bony. Since I am a big fan of multicultural as well as historical mysteries, several years ago my sister-in-law introduced me to this series, which is set in 1930's Australia. Of half-French, half-aboriginal ancestry, Bony solves his cases using keen intelligence coupled with his innate tracking and other abilities. These books are simply a delight, and in this one, Bony is engaged to solve a murder of a farmer in western Australia when he discovers another man's strange and frequent disappearances. At first he thinks the two cases are not related, and then he begins to wonder if his assumption is correct. This is a well-plotted mystery, and the ending will leave the reader surprised.

  • Nancy Oakes
    2019-01-23 03:19

    Also published as Murder Down Under; #4 in the Napoleon Bonaparte series set in the Australian outback. I can honestly highly recommend Mr. Jelly's Business to anyone who a)enjoys a good mystery or b) enjoys reading books set in Australia. As I've noted in previous reviews, you do have to be careful not to judge the book by today's standards, especially when it comes to attitude. Don't forget that this was not originally written in 1982, but many decades earlier.Brief synopsis:One night, Mr. Loftus leaves a pub and is never seen nor heard from again. His car is found stranded in a ditch but he's nowhere to be found. Enter Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte, who is technically not on duty at the time. Taking the guise as a worker on the Rabbit Fence, Bony snoops around unobtrusively to get to the heart of the mystery.A very fun and very good book.

  • Elizabeth (Alaska)
    2019-01-27 01:31

    In spite of awarding only three stars, I enjoyed this book. The setting is Australia of the early 1930s. The detective, Napoleon Bonaparte, is a "half-caste". That he is well-educated and well-spoken is apparently quite unusual. With that, we get a glimpse of the racism that was prevalent at the time, but also that the settlers are more tolerant than we might expect. This was written about the time of some of the Agatha Christie's I've read recently. I couldn't help but make a comparison. Bony, as he is called, is not more humble than Hercule Poirot - far from it - just not as willing to sit in the limelight. I think Upfield is a better writer; that is, his prose is more complex and interesting. Christie provides a better mystery, no doubt about it in my mind. That they each have at least one advantage over the other means I'll probably keep reading both.

  • Kerrie
    2019-02-08 07:22

    Bony takes on the case of George Loftus' disappearance as a favour to a friend, and gets a job working on the Rabbit Proof Fence so he can keep the locals under observation and work out what has happened to Loftus. Mr Jelly is convinced that Loftus has been murdered by his wife and her lover, but he is surrounded by his own mystery. He gets telegrams that summon him to Perth for at least a week at a time. Given his personal hobby that involves keeping extensive files on murderers, Mr Jelly's daughters are convinced that his job must be something to be ashamed of. Bony promises Mr Jelly's daughters that he will find out what their father does during his absences.This novel is filled with Upfield's own philosophy about what creates murderers. We also find out a lot about aboriginal tracking methods, as well as more information about Bony's family background.

  • Terry
    2019-01-30 07:24

    While the "who" & "why" were a little too easy, everything else about this book was intriguing--the unusual "how"; the original detective and the issues of race that Upfield broaches; the detailed prose, especially when the setting is described in beautiful and minute detail; and the plotting. Oh, the plotting!--the novel is fast-paced while the detective also manages to take his time (and emphasizes this to the other characters). When the recon missions are underway to the suspects' house, the taut suspense make it impossible to put the book down. Best of all, though, is how Upfield creates a double mystery, and ends both with exceptionally fitting symmetry in the last lines. With the final paragraph, the reader leaves the book on both a satisfied and exhilarated note.

  • Teri
    2019-02-19 07:24

    Actually I'm reading The Bachelors of Broken HIll by this author which I plan to finish before I leave for Australia in a couple of days... In preparation I'm reading a quaint mystery written about 1950, titled 'The Bachelors of Broken Hill'. Amy & I might get there. It is part of a series by Arthur Upfield and features a half-aborigine detective named Napoleon Bonaparte. The back cover features a blurb from the 'Times Literary Supplement' that I find irresistible "Arthur Upfield has an extraordinary gift. In many of the most elementary ways, he writes badly; and yet somehow in all his long series of books he conjures up , more vividly perhaps than any other popular writer, the feel of the Australian outback....."

  • Hana
    2019-02-01 02:27

    I read this about three years ago and just started re-reading it. I think it's one of Australian author Upfield's best (though I've read and enjoyed most of his books). His hero is half-aboriginal and half-white, raised (and improbably named Napoleon Bonaparte) by orphanage nuns. Detective Inspector 'Bony' brings his considerable intellectual gifts, humor and human insights, as well as his native tracking skills to bear on murder near the Rabbit Fence in the Australian Outback. Its set some fifty years ago and modern readers may cringe at the unflinchingly depicted racism, but Bony deals with it (and with his own inner conflicts) with unfailing good charm and modest self-assurance

  • Zoë
    2019-02-17 07:01

    Upfield is a master at detective novels! And what a likeable, capable character he has in Napoleon Bonepart, "Bony"! He allows the plot to unfold through the actions, lives, relationships and conversations of the characters all the while incorporating Australian First People's culture and ideas. Thoroughly delightful despite the early 20th century prejudice against women and aboriginal people, which the editor warns is not the belief of the publisher, but prevalent at the time of the writing.

  • Liz Henry
    2019-02-14 23:07

    This has been my favorite "Bony" mystery so far.Still incredibly unbelievably racist but complicated and interesting, just be warned you may not be able to stomach it when Bony starts pondering his own potential reversion to a "savage state", which he usually ponders when he faces possible failure -- ie if he doesn't solve a case then he will lose everything about his middle class family life, university education, etc. and have to go live in the bush. So, that is an interesting conflict but the overblown way it is described is kind of disturbing.

  • Sally
    2019-02-12 06:01

    I love the Arthur Upfield Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte mysteries, mainly because of the setting in Australia and the portrayal of a half-cast white/aboriginal inspector. The mysteries are good, but I think this is one of the best in the series. You don't find out what IS Mr. Jelly's business until the last paragraph. Peter Hosking does a fine job with the voices and accents in the audiobook recordings by Bolinda Audio.

  • Ashley
    2019-02-18 01:14

    Upfield's writing is lovely and descriptive. It made me long once again to return to Australia's rugged beauty. While not as thrilling as many more recently written mystery stories, it made for a good puzzle. I loved the character of Detective Inspector Bonaparte, and I think if he'd been a real person we might have been good friends. My only real complaints were that the pace seemed a little slow at times, and the very ending was slightly ambiguous. Over all, a very entertaining read.

  • Louise Woodruff
    2019-02-21 07:01

    This is the first "Bony" mystery I've read. It took me a bit of time to get into it. But I was drawn in to the young girls Sunflower and Lisa Jelly, and the mystery of their father's disappearances. Now I am even more curious about Australia. For instance, the significance of the Rabbit Fence. I will definitely try to find more of these mysteries. The main character--"half-caste" is fascinating. Quite a gentleman, he deals with society's racism deftly.

  • Liz Murray
    2019-02-13 04:21

    I was disappointed by the ending but I find that often happens with mystery novels. I found this very well crafted for the most part and it is revealing of the colonial mindset of the time. It lacks in political correctness, which would in fact only serve to mask the genuine feelings of some of the characters. Relationships are fairly well developed and it gives a glimpse into rural life in Western Australia just before the second world war.

  • Julie Defilippi
    2019-02-06 23:15

    Bony is a great character. He is a combination of Poirot, Marple and Dundee. I felt like the story was moving a little slow, but I am going to reserve judgement on that because I stopped reading just before the final third due to medical reasons which could be influencing the situation. Looking forward to trying some other Bony books.

  • Sue Law
    2019-01-31 07:09

    Bony is on holiday in Perth and offers to look into the disappearance of a farmer just outside the small wheatbelt town of Burracoppin. Despite the absence of a body, Bony is certain that the man has been murdered, but clues are few and far between and patience is required to build the case and find the body. And will Mr Jelly's secret business prove to have anything to do with the case?

  • Sharron
    2019-02-18 01:12

    Though the story is engaging, the ending is one that I believe most people would guess in advance. But that is of no matter to me as I don't read these stories so much for the plot as I do for the characters and, most especially, the strong sense of place. On that point, the book is worth five stars. Additionally, the narrator is quite good.

  • Regina
    2019-01-25 00:28

    I just picked this one of Upfield's books so I could pick one! I have read a few and they were all fascinating. I first picked them up in Australia and have been seeking them out since. A detective who is half aborigine and half white during highly prejudiced times is a real "hook" and the mystery and the Australia setting just add to the pleasure.

  • Emma
    2019-01-29 05:29

    Quite a nice little mystery written in the 1930s featuring the Boney the aboriginal detective. It means well but is sometimes painfully dated in its outlook. Overall it comes together nicely enough though perhaps does not tantalise long enough with a mystery.

  • Jim Stennett
    2019-02-13 05:13

    Fairly straight forward mystery that was probably a better read in the 1930s & '40s when Australia was a land far away and unknown to most Englishmen and Americans, but still an okay read. I might track more 'Bony' mysteries someday just out of curiosity.

  • Carol Colfer
    2019-01-26 05:13

    This was typical Upfield---about Bony, the half indigenous detective who has an uncanny ability to solve crimes, partly by this tracking and observational abilities. I always like these stories, and this was no exception.

  • Marina Sofia
    2019-02-13 01:08

    Interesting half-caste detective with the name Napoleon Bonaparte, this is the golden age of crime fiction set in Australia. Not exactly cosy, though; conveys perfectly the claustrophobia of a small agricultural community.

  • Eleanor Lux
    2019-02-09 05:30

    I like this writer . Usually a mystery will get me so excited that I can't read it fast enough but Upfield's books are also enlightening and also thought provoking Another favorite author of mine is Bruce Chatwin but he's not in the search list. I wonder why?