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Death of a Swagman

Narrated by: Peter Hosking
Length: 7 hrs and 24 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (12 ratings)

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Editorial Reviews

Written in 1945, Arthur Upfield’s ninth installment of his Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte series treats the listener to Bony as he’s never been seen before: seemingly fallen off the deep end as he purposefully gets himself arrested in the close-knit, isolated town of Merino while investigating the brutal murder of the titular swagman, the Australian term for a vagrant.

Of course, there is a method to his calculated madness, and Peter Hosking’s vibrant, emotive performance keeps the listener enthralled as Bony’s ingenious plan slowly unfurls.

Publisher's Summary

An Inspector Bonaparte Mystery.

In an isolated hut not far from the sleepy country town of Merino, stockman George Kendall is found dead and it looks very much like murder. Six weeks later, when the murderer is still at large, another stockman turns up in the township and, as a first move, provokes the local sergeant to lock him up. This particular stockman is Detective-Inspector Napolean Bonaparte, and there's method in his seeming madness. While serving a semi-detention sentence and being made to paint the police station, he wears the best of all possible disguises for a policeman on the trail of a ruthless and single-minded killer.

©1982 Arthur Upfield (P)2009 Bolinda Publishing

What members say

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Margie
  • Margie
  • 20-01-2017

one of the best readers ever of a great story

A great mystery story set in the rich outback of Australia. The characters and countryside richly described. The reader gives color and flavor to a great story. One should listen with eyes closed to get the full picture through voice and imagination.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Mary Corbet
  • Mary Corbet
  • 09-03-2015

Peter Hosking is The Best!

Arthur Upfield's Boney books are terrific - and they're made even better by Peter Hosking's superb narration. Wish there were more available!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for William R. Todd-Mancillas (Name includes hyphen and camptalized M)
  • William R. Todd-Mancillas (Name includes hyphen and camptalized M)
  • 17-07-2019

Excellent Historical Fiction

Narration: Superbly narrated...clear...fun Australian accents.

Story: I have listened to over 16 of this series. Overall it is an excellent series. SWAGMAN is one of the best in the series.

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  • katydid
  • 28-12-2018

Bony undercover

Another entertaining Bony mystery with Bony this time posing as a prisoner. The author’s loving and poetic descriptions of the outback k are this time focused on an area known as the Walls of China, which I now want to visit.

There is always a warning in the beginning about how these books are sexist and racist products of their time. I’ve never heard such a warning before, so I was expecting it to be pretty bad. However, in this book, the women were strong characters. Also, their value was based on traits like character and intelligence, rather than looks. This book did not feature Aborigines, but the author did comment on how they were a noble race whose culture had been destroyed by the whites. Bony is half Aboriginal and there is a soliloquy about how these “half-castes” at least could do as well as if not better than most whites if they were given a chance. So I think the author was probably progressive for his time.

4 stars for story because I did not care for the ending; the motivation for the murders seemed ridiculous.

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  • Ms Peach
  • 26-08-2016

Wonderfull mystery

The mystery is wonderful. With a surprise at the end. My favorite character is the 8 year old Rose Marie. Upfield so captured a precocious child, I fell sure he must have known a Rose Marie in his lifetime.

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Profile Image for Bookbums
  • Bookbums
  • 30-07-2016

Bony Never Disappointments

What made the experience of listening to Death of a Swagman the most enjoyable?

I like the Bony novels. I like the tone of the books.

What other book might you compare Death of a Swagman to and why?

The other Bony books. The voice is contempory to the story and not trying to just "sound" older.

Which character – as performed by Peter Hosking – was your favorite?

Always Bony, but Florence (Rose Marie) was important.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. I like time to digest the book.

Any additional comments?

This is a middle, 1950s, Bony and I like the earlier ones better.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mark H
  • Mark H
  • 26-04-2012

Good, but ridiculous motive

This is a 'who done it' detective story that requires the same kind of suspension of disbelief as an Agatha Christie novel. It was well written and quite well read. It contains reasonably well drawn characters and it has a narrative that flows steadily onwards. What I did not like not like was the ending, which involved what to me was an unbelivable motive and for this reason it is unlikely that I would listen to another book from this author.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful