About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Clue of the New Shoe by Arthur Upfield

40. – 837.) The Clue of the New Shoe by Arthur Upfield (1952) - Napoleon “Bony” Bonaparte is in southern Australia in the area where the Great Ocean Road starts less than 80 km from Melbourne.
He has been sent to the district of Split Point where the body of a naked man was found in the lighthouse. The local and regional investigation was unable to even identify the victim. 

Bony poses as the owner of a small sheep station of 100,000 acres in New South Wales far enough way to be difficult to check on his identity but close enough for a man seeking a holiday away from his wife.
Bony continues with his contrarian view that time is of great assistance in an unsolved murder investigation. He has a patience he attributes to the aboriginal side of his family.
Comfortably lodged in the Inlet Hotel he starts developing relationships with the local residents. Where current sleuths always in a hurry know little of the personalities and lives of those around a crime Bony learns life histories and the interplay of family and community relationships.

It is slow going with an unidentified victim. None of the locals recognize the body.

No motive is possible without knowing who has been killed.

I reluctantly admit I am far from an observant blogger. I did not see coming in the book how the pivotal evidence would be found that led to the victim's identity. There was actually a visual image in front of me all the time. The image is part of this post . Sigh!

When the body is identified Bony can start gathering direct information from the locals during their daily drinking at the hotel bar. Bony shouts his share of beer. They are living in a time when little attention was paid to drinking and driving.

While glad to read another Bony story I found The Clue of the New Shoe a rather average story. It was more an ordinary undercover detective mystery.

Bony is always more observant than the average detective and does use his tracking skills in the book but the location and other characters did not show Bony at his best.
The residents of Split Point were unremarkable except for Old Penwarden, an 80 plus coffin maker, whose love of his craft is striking.

The book took place in a rural setting but it was a well settled community with only white residents. There were no connections to aboriginal people.

I realize that I like Bony best when he is detecting in the remote wild country of Australia.

The book was located in a real life spot in Australia that Sharon, Jonathan and I visited 5 years ago. My next post will be about the Split Point Lighthouse.

Upfield was actually living at Airey's Inlet where the lighthouse is located when he wrote The Clue of the New Shoe which was originally published as The New Shoe.

In a biography the local general store, which mainly sold paperbacks, sold 24 hardcover copies of The New Shoe immediately after publication but could not obtain more copies from the national distributor as they were out of stock. There were dark thoughts that because Upfield was an Australian writer his books did not get priority with English centered publishers.

I will continue to read Bony mysteries as I find them in used bookstores. They are not common in Canada.
Upfield, Arthur - (2011) - Cake in the Hat Box; (2011) - The Widows of Broome (2011) - "U" is for Arthur Upfield; (2011) - The Bushman Who Came Back; (2012) - The Will of the Tribe; (2012) - The Battling Prophet; (2012) - "U" is for Arthur W. Upfield; (2013) - The Bone is Pointed; (2013) - Q & A with Stan Jones on Nathan Active and Napoleon "Bony" Bonaparte - Part I and Part II; (2013) - "U" is for Death of a Swagman (1945); (2015) - Death of a Lake 


  1. I do have to admit to a soft spot for the Bony mysteries, Bill. One of the things I like about them is that as Bony goes to different parts of Australia to solve mysteries, readers get to tag along and get a sense of life in different places. They have a solid sense of setting (at least to me). And I always think Upfield used that tool of having Bony fit in to different communities very effectively. I lookk forward to your post about the lighthouse.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I think I am going to try at some point to put together a map of Australia showing all the places Bony handled cases.

  2. I like this one somewhat better than you do, I think, Bill. I thought the characters - Penwarden in particular, to be sure - were well-developed. I thought Bony's ultimate solution was quite moving.

    As you're looking for others, let me recommend "Man of Two Tribes," which is one of my favorites. Also, the Upfield family apparently is republishing and re-releasing all the Bony novels in a variety of formats - print and e-books and even some audio, I believe. Bony is a favorite of mine.

    1. Les: Thanks for the comment. I am thinking of writing a post about Penwarden and his coffins.

      I am glad there will be new editions of the Bony mysteries. I hope they reach North America. I still prefer paper copies.